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EN920 Shakespeare in Performance

Shakespeare and Performance: Reading, Viewing, Re-viewing

Stephen Purcell

Shakespeare in Performance in Autumn Term 2017 will focus on A Midsummer Night's Dream and Coriolanus on stage and on film. Initially, students will conduct a close reading of the texts for performance: what challenges does Shakespeare offer actors, directors, designers in these plays? Where do these plays fit into the large scheme of his work? How do we read for performance? Then, picking up Jonathan Miller's enabling notion of 'subsequent performance', and engaging with the idea that Shakespeare doesn't 'mean' until he is performed, students will encounter a number of 'subsequent' productions and adaptations, re-performing versions of Shakespeare's scripts, make different meanings for different audiences. The module will ask: What is a performance record? What is a performance archive? What role (historic, contemporary) does the review play in remembering performance? What about newer technologies -- the transmission of stage productions by video, for instance, or fixed camera captures of live performance: what kind of record does such transmission constitute? Critical reading along the way will both historicise and theorise performance studies and will give students models for writing performance studies. A hands-on reviewer's workshop will be conducted. Students on this module will be expected to attend theatre performances and film screenings. They will spend two full days in the performance archives of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford upon Avon: they are therefore advised to keep their Fridays clear for archival research.



A reference list


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