Book

Shakespeare in Parts

Simon Palfrey and Tiffany Stern

Published in print September 2007 | ISBN: 9780199272051
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191699580 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199272051.001.0001
Shakespeare in Parts

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A combination of original theatre history and literary criticism, this book explores the original form in which Shakespeare's drama circulated. This was not the full play-text; it was not the public performance. It was the actor's part, consisting of the bare cues and speeches of each individual role. With group rehearsals rare or non-existent, the cued part alone had to furnish the actor with his character. But each such part-text was riddled with gaps and uncertainties. The actor knew what he was going to say, but not necessarily when, or why, or to whom; he may have known next to nothing of any other part. It demanded the most sensitive attention to the opportunities inscribed in the script, and to the ongoing dramatic moment. Here is where the young actor Shakespeare learnt his trade; here is where his imagination, verbal and technical, learnt to roam. As Shakespeare developed his playwriting, the apparent limitations of the medium were transformed into expressive opportunities. Both cue and speech become repositories of meaning and movement. Writing always for the same core group of players, Shakespeare could take — and insist upon — unprecedented risks. The result is onstage drama of astonishing immediacy. Starting with a comprehensive history of the part in early modern theatre, this book provides an insight into hitherto forgotten practices and techniques.

Keywords: Shakespeare; theatre history; literary criticism; early modern theatre; actor's part

Book.  560 pages.  Illustrated.

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Table of Contents

Introductionin Shakespeare in Parts

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The Actor's Partin Shakespeare in Parts

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The Actorsin Shakespeare in Parts

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History of the Cuein Shakespeare in Parts

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Introductionin Shakespeare in Parts

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From Crowds to Clownsin Shakespeare in Parts

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