Once more unto the breach for author Scott Kaiser?

Scott Kaiser is the head of voice and text at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and has worked on more than 80 productions. Recently, he just published a second book dedicated to his craft.

"Shakespeare's Wordcraft," his second publication, available from Limelight Editions, looks at the rhetoric behind the Bard. A painstakingly researched text, "Shakespeare's Wordcraft" looks at the different choices, tools and some unconventional pairings Shakespeare used to induce emotive qualities in his works.

"It was written very deliberately for actors, or at least with actors in mind, but I omitted references to broaden readership," said Kaiser. "I think it appeals to language lovers in general."

To understand Kaiser's impetus behind the book, it helps to understand what exactly a head of voice and text does.

"My mission is to encourage full expression of the language of our plays through the actor's voices," said Kaiser. "My job is basically to help actors express through their voices whatever the play requires"&

166; I'm kind of an advocate for the playwright."

Kaiser tends to work three or four plays a season and hires guests to accommodate the rest.

Kaiser felt the time had come to write a work dissecting the intricacies of Shakespeare's verse due to the problems he saw in a culture no longer able to express itself.

"Generally, I think Americans can be kind of numb to the sophistication of language," said Kaiser. "Perhaps that's why, in Hollywood, when they want a villain they always cast the well-spoken Brit."

According to Kaiser, the problem of widespread lack of articulation is much deeper than having trouble ordering at the Drive-up at Wendy's.

"To force politicians to speak in seven second sound bites when problems are so much bigger than seven seconds is unfair. At the same time, we don't trust articulate politicians," said Kaiser. "We have no patience for political discourse, which is in no way (the mentality) which this country was founded upon."

"Rhetoric has become a bad word when it's not," said Kaiser, of his passion. "This is partially thanks to the media. People need to understand that rhetoric is simply a means of conveying ideas or opinions. It's neither good nor bad, but thinking made it so. Rhetoric is responsible for much of the progress in this country. Without Martin Luther King (Jr.)'s rhetoric, there'd be no civil rights movement. Without John F. Kennedy's rhetoric, there'd have been no man on the moon."

"It took awhile for publishers to get it," said Kaiser of his newest volume. "But when you can show different examples, it shows deliberate use of a device very clearly"&

166; And as you get more into writing, you get a feel for what publishers want.

As for his work with OSF, a job now spanning its 15th season, for Kaiser it was a return home. With an MFA from the University Professional Actor Training Program and a BA from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Kaiser has two seasons as an actor with OSF in 1985 and 1986. He then trained in voice in England and spent several years teaching.

"I really don't think of myself exclusively as a voice guy," said Kaiser. "I've written and directed plays, acted and am very keen on teaching actors. I'm still a paying, card-carrying member of the actor's union though I haven't acted in a decade. It's still very much a part of my identity and I've never forgotten how hard it is to act well, or how vulnerable it is to act live before a crowd. That's something I've always been proud of."

"The job keeps evolving. As the festival moves to meet a new vision, I think a lot of those changes are yet to be seen," said Kaiser.

"I am definitely working towards a third book as well, there's no question about that. I hope to develop more plays as well, though that (goal) is not as immediate as a third book." As for what it will cover, mum's the word, but surely by any other word, Kaiser's future work will smell as sweet; as his previous volumes are already gaining academic attention and are beginning to be taught in classrooms as well as adorn armchairs.

"I don't want my career to be narrowly defined," said Kaiser. "I do try, whenever I can, to do other things."

Both "Shakespeare's Wordcraft" and "Mastering Shakespeare: An Acting Class in Seven Scenes" can be found on Amazon.com, or at the publisher's Web sites: applausepub.com and allworth.com

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