Updating Shakespeare's Plays
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0407 Monday, 27 July 2009
From: Frank Whigham <
Date: Sunday, 26 Jul 2009 12:09:56 -0500
Subject: 20.0402 Updating Shakespeare's Plays
Comment: Re: SHK 20.0402 Updating Shakespeare's Plays
There are many different reasons to go see plays; it depends on what
you're after. Some updatings (such as the Peter Brook MND or the 2007
Patrick Stewart Chichester Macbeth) are magnificently informative. Some
seem to have little purpose but to advertise the individuality of the
supposed auteur director.
So far as I can see, what's more risky than updating these days is to
attempt to produce a historically specific production of early modern
Shakespeare (with actual boy actors, say, or to produce "lesser" plays,
or Webster or Middleton, at all). For those of us interested in history,
a studied attempt to get at early costume or stage practice or social
practice or acting is uncommon, welcome, and often suggestively
unfamiliar and disorienting and, as a result, productive, in ways that
presenting Hal as George Bush or Brutus as Spock are not.
But generally, in my experience, good/bad and "authentic"/"modern" do
not line up in any neat way at all.
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