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Shakespeare and the Power of Performance
Stage and Page in the Elizabethan Theatre


  • Date Published: December 2010
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521182836

£ 39.99

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About the Authors
  • Focusing on the practical means and media of Shakespeare's stage, this study envisions horizons for his achievement in the theatre. Bridging the gap between today's page- and stage-centred interpretations, two renowned Shakespeareans demonstrate the artful means by which Shakespeare responded to the competing claims of acting and writing in the Elizabethan era. They examine how the playwright explored issues of performance through the resonant trio of clown, fool and cross-dressed boy actor. Like this trio, his deepest and most captivating characters often attain their power through the highly performative mode of 'personation' - through playing the character as an open secret. Surveying the whole of the playwright's career in the theatre, Shakespeare and the Power of Performance offers not only compelling ways of approaching the relation of performance and print in Shakespeare's works, but also new models for understanding dramatic character itself.

    • Surveys the whole of Shakespeare's works, giving readers a complete understanding of Shakespeare's achievement in the theatre
    • Restores the all-important category of 'character' to Shakespeare studies
    • Gives both readers and theatre-goers a new way of seeing Shakespeare's plays in all their dimensions by bridging the current gulf between Shakespeare on the page and in the theatre
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    Reviews & endorsements

    Review of the hardback: 'Learned, readable, and provocative, this extraordinary book brings the range and depth of Robert Weimann's and Douglas Bruster's rich knowledge of the early modern stage to bear on a theoretically engaging reading of the interplay between dramatic writing and stage performance.' W. B. Worthen, University of Michigan

    Review of the hardback: 'This convincing study radically extends our understanding of the productive interplay between text and theatre in Shakespeare's work. Weimann and Bruster brilliantly analyse the actor-playwright's skill in turning to advantage the potentially uneasy relation between the imagination of the author and the material reality of his actors.' Catherine Belsey, University of Wales, Swansea

    Review of the hardback: '… essential reading for anyone teaching or studying Shakespeare, as well as those working in the theatre …' Robert Hornback

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2010
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521182836
    • length: 278 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.41kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. 'Moralize two meanings' in one play: contrariety on the Tudor stage
    2. Performance, game, and representation in Richard III
    3. Mingling vice and 'worthiness' in King John
    4. Clowning: agencies between voice and pen
    5. Clowning at the frontiers of representation
    6. Cross-dressing and performance in disguise
    7. Personation and playing: 'secretly open' role-playing
    8. Character/actor: the deep matrix
    9. Character: depth, dialogue, page
    10. King Lear: representations on stage and page.

  • Authors

    Robert Weimann, University of California, Irvine

    Douglas Bruster, University of Texas, Austin

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