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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: December ::
Shakespeare Performed Sky High
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.2118  Thursday, 2 December 1999.

From:           Kenneth S. Rothwell <
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Date:           Wednesday, 1 Dec 1999 16:33:39 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Shakespeare Performed Sky High

While in New York City over the Thanksgiving Holidays, I chanced on a
startling development in the history of Shakespeare performance. After a
matinee of the musical Chicago, while I was being jostled and elbowed,
pushed and shoved, by the madding crowd in Times Square, I beheld far
above 42nd Street, a gargantuan television screen showing excerpts in
living color from the forthcoming film of Titus Andronicus. If by even a
conservative estimate the crowd numbered 100,000, it was the largest
single audience for a Shakespearean scene ever brought together in one
place (not scattered around the world in isolated groups).  Given the
irony that Titus is rarely produced, and ignoring the fact that this was
a captive audience, the event geometrically ratcheted up the play's
attendance figures.  I suspect that the bizarre spectacle constituted
the very first example of an alfresco mega-size performance of
Shakespeare in moving images. O brave new world of electronics and
cyberspace! Will the year 2999 see a Shakespeare play being hyped from
the moon, or elsewhere in space?  Kenneth Rothwell

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