The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0407  Monday, 27 July 2009

From:       Frank Whigham <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
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.

Frank Whigham

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