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Home :: Archive :: 1993 :: February ::
Relationship Between Playtext and Performance
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 87.  Tuesday, 16 February 1993.
 
From:           Nick Clary <
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Date:           Tuesday, 16 Feb 1993 09:47:15 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        [Relationship Between Playtext and Performance]
 
While recent contributors to the performance criticism conversation remind me
that actors and directors are as intent on doing a play "new" as others are in
establishing the historical occasion for a particular performance.  Should more
of us be wondering about the relationship between reading a playtext and
attending a performance of it.  Were Elizabethan's only able to read a playtext
after the play had been performed?  When a play was revived, are we to assume
that it must have been different from all versions of the play that had been
previously performed (to make it "new") or like only one of the published
versions?  And if it were revived soon after a version of the playtext was
published, would it necessarily follow this particular version or could it be
expected to vary not only from this version but from all prior ones?  What
about the publishing of HAMLET Q1 and Q2 in consecutive years and of OTHELLO
Q1 and F1 in consecutive years?  Who read which versions? Why? Beyond issues of
commercialism or censorship, is there a way to think about such things in a
fresh way?  Some certainly attended performances without ever reading a
published play.  Others must certainly have read playtexts without ever
attending a performance.  Is there anyone out there who is developing a theory
about play reading or about play publishing in Elizabethan England?
 
Nick Clary
clary@smcvax.bitnet
 

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