Advanced Play & Scene Study

"[this class has] led the way into Shakespeare's world of infinite imagination...what a gift!" 

-- Quinn Harmon Kelly

Advanced Play & Scene Study


Feb. 21 - April 3

7 Wednesdays  

6:30 - 10:30 PM  

This Advanced Play & Scene Study class is designed to help the experienced actor become more alert to Shakespeare, one play at a time! 

Together we read the play on zoom (working from both modern texts and the First Folio). We glean information from examining line endings, patterns and shifts in meter, and rhetorical devices to help us to speak the text boldly, yet with nuance.

Then, in person, we enter the "rehearsal mode"  in Santa Monica.  On our feet, we further explore the play and characters through monologues and scenes. This class keeps us in shape to perform, while fine-tuning our ability to "read" and "play" Shakespeare's music with clarity and passion.

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actors discuss the advanced play study

this is an advanced class by invitation only

class held IN PERSON & ONLINE  

$295 per 7 week session

So far, we have delved into:

The Merchant of Venice

Complex and challenging for modern audiences, this play hits a nerve, as it puts our relationship with money and racism front and center. Shakespeare's portrayal of Jews in Elizabethan England challenges us to look at the significance of cultural insecurities at play both in Elizabethan England and in our modern culture.  Issues of intolerance and religious fervor rise constantly in this "comedy" and there are just no easy answers.  Fascinating, complicated and intriguing- this play thrusts you into a foreign time that feels way uncomfortably way too present.





The greatest play in the English language.... 'nuff said.

Julius Caesar

A historical tragedy, certainly, but a chilling modern tale of the struggle for political power, cloaked in ideology that can only be corrupted by human frailty. It is a fast-paced train ride, with no extraneous text, and casts the audience as perhaps the most important character: the crowd.  They are pandered to, sought for, and manipulated as their public opinion will ultimately award free reign to those in charge.    Shakespeare doesn't give us true villains or heros....but every character has their unique point of view, and the audience leaves with more questions than answers.  It is a kalidescopic journey into a male dominated modern world, out of touch with the balance of nature and exposing how dangerous it is when a populace allows themselves to be led by the nose.


Set in medieval Scotland, MacBeth play was Abraham Lincoln's favorite Shakespeare play.  We tend to think it is a play about ambition, and it is....but it is layered with so much more.   We got to explore what drives the ambition; how desires and fears are at play on both the unseen side of life and on its physically manifested side. But at the heart of the play, there is a solid marriage; two people who love each other very much. And when the relationship fractures, chaos ensues.  It is at the same time a large mythical play, and a deeply intimate one.  This play keeps working on your imagination, long after you've set it down. 

Winters Tale

The concept of Time recurs in many of Shakespeare’s plays,but it is especially palpable in The Winters Tale.  Shakespeare explores Time’s passage; its' continuum, its' cycles of death and rebirth, and its' ability to be an agent ofprofound forgiveness.  Against the backdrop of winter, chaos brings unspeakable tragedy and loss. But spring eventually comes with its restorative powers of love and acceptance . 

King Lear

King Lear was derived from the legend of Leir of Britain, a mythological Celtic king.  Shakespeare's version explores themes of family, aging, mental deterioration, loyalty, betrayal, honour, loss of love, yearning for love, forgiveness and ultimately a kind of enlightenment. As George Bernard Shaw wrote, "No man will ever write a better tragedy than Lear." 

The War of the Roses

War of the Roses, (1455–85) was the series of dynastic English civil wars whose violence and civil strife preceded the government of the Tudors. Fought between the Houses of Lancaster and York for the English throne, the wars were named many years later from the supposed badges of the contending parties: the white rose of York and the red of Lancaster.

Henry 6

pt. 2 & 3


Richard III

(2020 & 2023)

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"Scene Study with Susan Angelo has significantly increased my understanding of the Bard’s work. Her method of examining text, character analysis, and how to tackle prose and verse has made Shakespeare less intimidating. In fact, she makes reading his plays exciting!There are so many layers to his writing and she helps you pierce them all." 

Christopher Loverro, actor, founder of Warriors for Peace

"I came to the Shakespeare Gymnasium and Scene Study classes after being on the “other side of the camera” for over two decades (not to mention that when I was acting, I had never performed Shakespeare!) My fears were quickly put to rest by Susan’s contagious enthusiasm, support, direction, and exercises that help focus the actor on simply what needs to be done. Her remarkable breadth of knowledge about Shakespeare and the technical demands of this kind of text are nothing short of inspiring. She has given me a newfound love of Shakespeare and re-lit my acting bug." 

Rebecca Robertson-Szwaja, script supervisor (Goliath, Veep, Sideways)

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How to Enroll:

Enrollment is by invitation only.

If you have taken the Shakespeare Gymnasium, 
click here & let's chat.

If you are experienced with Shakespeare, but new to this studio, let's set up an interview! click here