By Anthony B. Dawson
Here is a e-book written basically for playgoers. taking a look heavily at eighteen performs, Anthony Dawson examines key judgements that actors and administrators need to make, and indicates how diverse interpretations stream from those judgements. His goal is to make audiences extra conscious of the a number of percentages Shakespearean textual content presents, and as a result greater in a position to investigate specific productions. utilizing widespread and vast representation from the fashionable theatre, he argues that contradiction and artistic inconsistency are marks of Shakespeare's performs and that productions frequently paintings most sensible after they embody competition and attempt for stability, instead of after they undertake one-sided readings or suppress components that do not healthy a specific concept.
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Additional resources for Watching Shakespeare: A Playgoers’ Guide
So, though there is some justification in the text for what might be termed a feminist production, favouring Hippolyta and Titania and their rebellion, there is no very effective way of resolving the issues that such an approach raises. The ending is unremittingly celebratory: Titania is won to Oberon as her counterpart is to Theseus. Still, in one sense at least, the irony turns on the men at last: one of the male lovers, Demetrius, is left for ever under the magic spell. l-27). Hippolyta, we feel, sees farthershe is willing to let the strange stories of the magic night touch her in ways that the stolid Theseus refuses.
A third approach, based on a serious reading of the opening line and the later speech about the harshness of her father's will, would emphasize the restrictions she feels, her inability to act freely in the world and control her own life. A possible problem with this is that the passage about her various suitors does not suggest a Portia that is too weighed down or distressed. However, the fact that, after getting free of the will, Portia does take significant action in society supports the conception of her as a mature woman, straining at the bit that keeps her in check.
In Belmont, she is something of an imprisoned princess, and, if the setting is nineteenth century, we might easily get an impression of a bored and worldly young 30 Watching Shakespeare woman, accomplished but useless, a bit like Rosamund Lydgate in Middlemarch. But for the play to work she must be more like Dorothea than Rosamund, with a little of Austen's Elizabeth Bennett thrown in. Her action in the real world is crucial- it is she who solves the play's major problem - and an actress's conception of the character has to spring from that success.
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