In the first comprehensive study of how Shakespeare designed his plays to suit his playing company, Brett Gamboa demonstrates how Shakespeare turned his limitations to creative advantage, and how doubling roles suited his unique sense of the dramatic. By attending closely to their dramaturgical structures, Gamboa analyses casting requirements for the plays Shakespeare wrote for the company between 1594 and 1610, and describes how using the embedded casting patterns can enhance their thematic and theatrical potential. Drawing on historical records, dramatic theory, and contemporary performance this innovative work questions received ideas about early modern staging and provides scholars and contemporary theatre practitioners with a valuable guide to understanding how casting can help facilitate audience engagement. Supported by an appendix of speculative doubling charts for plays, illustrations, and online resources, this is a major contribution to the understanding of Shakespeare's dramatic craft.Read more
- Presents a new theory about how Shakespeare designed plays for his original company, and the way the company casted and performed those plays
- Includes speculative casting charts for all Shakespeare's plays written for his company (c.1594–1610), that have significant implications for modern productions
- Explores the idea of the boy actor in considerable detail, making a more detailed and diverse argument for these boys being older than is commonly supposed
Reviews & endorsements
'With its entirely new sense of Shakespeare's combined poetic and practical craft, this bold and elegant book has far-reaching consequences for the worlds of performance, editing and interpretation.' Tiffany Stern, Shakespeare Institute, University of BirminghamSee more reviews
'Brett Gamboa's book represents a highly original contribution to the study of Shakespeare's working practices which challenges orthodox views on the casting of his plays in early performance. The work of a scholar who is also a practitioner, it demands to be considered by anyone with an interest in Shakespeare's dramatic craftsmanship.' Sir Stanley Wells, CBE, FRSL, Honorary President, The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
'Brett Gamboa's Shakespeare's Double Plays investigates this now-taken-for-granted aspect of Shakespearean dramaturgy with fresh eyes.' Colin S. MacDonald, The Times Literary Supplement
'Shakespeare's Double Plays is essential reading for scholars and students of theater history and early modern performance … Gamboa has written an important book for theater historians, students of theater, actors, and directors.' Farah Karim-Cooper, Renaissance Quarterly
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- Date Published: June 2022
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9781108405010
- length: 301 pages
- dimensions: 229 x 152 x 16 mm
- weight: 0.408kg
- contains: 10 b/w illus. 40 tables
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
1. 'Improbable fictions': Shakespeare's plays without the plays
2. Versatility and verisimilitude on sixteenth-century stages
3. Doubling in The Winter's Tale
4. Dramaturgical directives and Shakespeare's cast size
5. Doubling in A Midsummer Night's Dream and Romeo and Juliet
6. 'What, are they children?': Reconsidering Shakespeare's boy actors
7. Doubling in Twelfth Night and Othello
Epilogue: ragozine and Shakespearean substitution
Appendix: doubling roles in Shakespeare's plays.
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