I have sought out connections between a performance history of Shakespeare and a theory of gesture. Here, I want to look for these connections through a comparison of the work of the choreographer Siân Williams and the gesture scholar David McNeill. My aim is not to recruit my interviewees to support my ideas, but to allow their own words to suggest resonances. On 17 August 2014 I met Siân Williams in a café in Hammersmith. A dancer and choreographer since 1982, Siân was in West London to work on the movement for a concert performance given at Hammersmith Apollo by the singer Kate Bush. Numerous thoughts emerge from the interview that resonate with the general themes of this book. She talks of the basis of the actor’s power in the effortful practice of bodily disciplines like dance. She puts forward the ideas of research as something done ‘on your feet’ and of non-verbal expressiveness as the basis of theatrical storytelling. She pays homage to collaborators who approach the problem of making theatre in unusual ways; she notes the importance of an embodied knowledge of how costume shapes bodily practice, and she thinks deeply about the essential musicality of human movement both onstage and off. In the following edited transcript, ‘SW’ refers to Siân and ‘DT’ to me.
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