Recently, we were delighted to listen to OV Edward Kemp (H 74-83), Director of RADA, featured on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, speaking about the significance of Shakespearean verse and iambic pentameter in relation to contemporary actors. The piece was responding to comments made by Gregory Doran, artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), about young actors’ ability to tackle the verse.
Edward spoke about why iambic pentameter is so fundamental to Shakespeare’s plays, and how actors can enjoy and experiment with the poetry, musicality and playfulness of his language. He also gave listeners insight into RADA training, and the versatility that is needed for RADA’s graduates today to work successfully across theatre, film and TV.
Talking to us about his exciting interview and about his time at King’s, Edward said, “One of the things I am most grateful to the school for (& most especially the English department of my time, notably Roger Hunt, Tim Crow (Hon OV) and Peter Diamond (Hon OV)) was an immersion in Shakespeare and his language as something to be spoken and performed, not coldly studied. We had an extraordinarily creative time exploring the Merchant of Venice at O-Level with Roger, & an engagement with the material I still draw on almost 40 years later.
I also made my first trips to the RSC with the school and experienced my first RSC workshop. So I think it’s fair to say that my wanting to talk on national radio about the challenges of engaging with Shakespeare as a living, poetic writer is in a direct line to my education at King’s.”