This book writes a performance history of Antony and Cleopatra from 1606 to 2018. After considering the particular challenges Shakespeare’s script offers any actors, directors or designers who stage it, the book looks in detail at Antony and Cleopatra on the Jacobean stage and then at Dryden’s All for Love (the play that replaced Shakespeare’s from the Restoration to 1849). Fast-forwarding across a number of Victorian adaptations and early twentieth century English productions, it arrives at 1953, when, directed by Glen Byam Shaw at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre with Peggy Ashcroft as Cleopatra and Michael Redgrave as Antony, the play’s modern performance history begins. Thereafter, chapters offer in-depth analyses of fifteen productions by (among others) the Royal Shakespeare Company, Citizens’ Theatre Glasgow, Northern Broadsides, Berliner Ensemble and Toneelgroep Amsterdam in five countries and three languages. Combining close readings of theatre records – promptbooks, stage managers’ reports, costume bibles, reviews – with deep historical contextualisation, it sees how, and what, this play has meant each time it has brought its thoughts on power, race, masculinity, regime change, exoticism, love, dotage and delinquency into alignment with a new present. It ends seeing Shakespeare’s black Cleopatra restored to the English stage. Tragedy, comedy, history, farce: this book demonstrates that in performance Antony and Cleopatra is all four.
’ performance histories, and I raise a number of issues in relation to the usefulness of performance history itself. Editors of scholarly editions of Shakespeare’s plays took a long time to recognise that their role necessarily included a discussion of the play in performance. The editors’ introductions in all the volumes of the first and second Arden Shakespeare series (hereinafter referred to as ‘Ard1’ and
. Pericles , too, is a divided play, and in Chapter 8 , I show that its ‘lasting storm’ is a performance aesthetic that bridges the divisions and allows us to think more carefully about them. This, then, is a book that uses the discourses of performance history and ecocritisim to argue that Shakespeare’s storms have so far been misread or ignored. The storms represent changing theatrical and technical
suggests that Play structurally invited adaptation, pushed at technological limitations, and challenged the boundaries of theatre. In the first wave of its performance history, lasting approximately from composition to the end of Beckett's life, Play also tended to reveal salient features of the medium in which it was presented, whether it appeared in a theatre or made the transition into recorded or broadcast media. Revolutionary changes in media technologies, underway at the time of Play 's composition but pervasive since
Love but different, which it’s not. It’s more cerebral than that.’ 8 The similarities between the two films are obvious: from shared cast members (Tom Wilkinson and Rupert Everett), to visual and narrative echoes. Both seek to reconstruct the performance history of Shakespeare and give the film viewer a glimpse behind the scenes of the theatre world. Stage Beauty is concerned with the point in the Restoration period when male actors portraying female characters were replaced by actresses on the English stage. Greg Colón Semenza argues that depictions of post
The ultras style of football fandom emerged in 1960s Italy and has spread across Europe and the Mediterranean, to North America and Asia. This is not a history of the ultras, but an analysis of the way history has been used and incorporated into the ultras’ performance. History is an important foundation of ultras groups. It can act as an ‘invented tradition’ where ultras integrate historical narratives of their club, city and nation to present themselves to others. This chapter illustrates some of the many ways in which history has been incorporated into the development of the ultras style.
To look at the performance history of Titus Andronicus is to confront some provocative questions such as why has this play posed severe problems for generations of readers, critics, editors, actors, directors, and playgoers. The book examines twelve major theatrical productions and one film, on the play, that appeared in the years 1989-2009. It begins with Edward Ravenscroft's version that superseded Shakespeare's script. Peter Brook chose to stylise or formalise many moments, and Deborah Warner's production worked with no cutting of the script. Every staging of Titus elicits comments about the daunting nature of the script. The book presents Irving Wardle's reactions on Trevor Nunn's 1972 rendition, and Stanley Wells's review of the Swan production. The densest concentration of such problems and anomalies, as perceived by today's directors, critics, and editors, comes in the final scene. The productions that opened in 1989, directed by Jeannette Lambermont, Daniel Mesguich, and Michael Maggio, cut and rearranged the text liberally, often in an attempt to avoid the laughter. During the period 1989-99, three major European directors, Peter Stein, Silviu Purcarete, and Gregory Doran, focused their attention on the ways in which the play can be made to comment on specific contemporary affairs. Julie Taymor's venture in 1994 combined stylization with the 'visceral reality' as a means to keep spectators off balance and continuously sensitive to the shocking brutality of the play's events. The book ends by discussing the efforts of Yukio Ninagaw, Bill Alexander, Gale Edwards, Richard Rose, and Lucy Bailey.
This chapter illustrates various routes into the dramatic profession in the Victorian period and analyses the potential advantages of different means of learning acting and stagecraft through examination of the early performance history of selected actresses. Some commenced work as child performers while others began as adults after receiving private tuition from a professional, performing on the amateur stage or giving dramatic readings. Discussion of the strategy of gaining experience in provincial or minor London theatres before risking appearing on the more prestigious West End stages reveals multiple benefits in terms of skill enhancement and press and audience response. The examples are used to argue for the importance of British provincial theatres, not only as training grounds for performers but also as instrumental to the economic health and stability of both the actress and the theatrical industry.
This chapter focuses on two all-male versions of the play: Clifford Williams's for the National Theatre in 1967, and Declan Donnellan's for Cheek by Jowl in 1991 and 1994. If it goes without saying that As You Like It has, throughout its performance history, been implicated in questions of sexual and gender identity. These productions particularly foreground issues of transvestite masquerade and same-sex desire that the tradition of female Rosalinds has largely occluded. Reflecting on the production two decades after it was made, director Declan Donnellan recalled its historic and political context. For Donnellan, the central point was to invite the audience 'to tread a tightrope of willed belief, a quintessentially theatrical act of faith'. Inverting Brechtian logic, the director stated that [e]xposing the nuts and bolts of theatre actually makes you more involved in the play.
Titus Andronicus uncut has come true. According to my research, all twelve major stage productions (and one feature film) produced between 1989 and 2009 have included cuts and/or transpositions, many of them extensive. Although Warner’s production achieved wide popular and critical acclaim, it has not had nearly the level of influence on subsequent stage and film versions as its success might have foretold. Rather, it typifies only one of four active lines of descent in the performance history of Titus Andronicus