Theatre Arts 275

Shakespeare Performance History

Professor Mazer

Fall 2012


519 Annenberg Center, 3-2659;

Office Hours:  Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1:30-2:30, and by appointment


All readings, except ones from James C. Bulman, Shakespeare,Theory, and Performance, are downloadable from, or linked to, the Blackboard site.


September 6:  Introduction


September 11:  What is a text, what is a performance, what is a production, what is performance history?

Reading:  Zachary Lesser, “Playbooks”; Margaret Jane Kidnie, “Where is Hamlet?  Text, Performance, and Adaptation”; Michael J. Warren, “Quarto and Folio King Lear and the Interpretation of Albany and Edgar.”


September 13:  Early Modern Scenic Conventions

Reading:  Alan C. Dessen, “Shakespeare and the Theatrical Conventions of his Time,” in The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare Studies (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 1986).


September 18:  [NO CLASS] 


September 20:  Early Modern Acting

Reading:  Joseph R. Roach, “Changeling Proteus”; Anthony B. Dawson, “Performance and Participation:  Desdemona, Foucault, and the Actor’s Body” (in Bulman, Shakespeare, Theory, and Performance); Tiffany Stern, “Rehearsal, Performance, and Plays.”


September 25:  Shakespeare “Improved”

Reading:  Nahum Tate, King Lear; Colly Cibber, Richard III (links on Blackboard)


September 27:  Eighteenth-Century Acting

Reading:  Henry Fielding, a chapter from Tom Jones; excerpt from Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, excerpts from Visits to England; Joseph R. Roach, “Garrick, the Ghost, and the Machine.”


October 2:  Romanticism, Melodrama, and Spectacle

Reading:  William Henry Ireland, Vortigern (link on Blackboard)


October 4:  Romanticism, Acting, and Character

Reading:  John Philip Kemble, “Macbeth Reconsidered”; H.C. Fleeming Jenkin, “Mrs. Siddons as Lady Macbeth and as Queen Katharine”; Joseph W. Donohue, Jr., “Shakespearean Character on the Early Romantic Stage.”




October 9:  Nineteenth-Century Pictorialism

Reading:  Martin Meisel, “Preamble to the Picture Play” and “Irving and the Artists”; Michael R. Booth, “Shakespeare,” and “Beerbohm Tree’s Henry VIII, Her Majesty’s Theatre, 1910”; Richard W. Schoch, “Pictorial Shakespeare.”


October 11:  Nineteenth-Century Pictorialism II

Reading:  Richard W. Schoch, “The Homestead of History’:  Medievalism on the Mid-Victorian Stage”; Alan Hughes, “The Merchant of Venice”; Michael R. Booth, “Pictorial Acting and Ellen Terry”; Ralph Berry, “The Imperial Theme”;


October 16:  Acting and Character

Reading:  Mary Cowden Clarke, “Katharina and Bianca:  The Shrew and the Demure”; Helena Faucit, “Juliet.”


October 18:  Acting and Character

Reading:  George Henry Lewes, “Edmund Kean,” and “On Natural Acting,” from On Actors and the Art of Acting; William Archer, “Introductory,” “Sunt Lacrymae Rerum,” “‘Autosuggestion’ and ‘Innervation,’”  and “The Brownies of the Brain” from Masks or Faces?; G. Bernard Shaw, two theatre reviews from The Saturday Review ; Edward Gordon Craig, “The Actor—His Voice” and “The Actor—His Movement and His Face”; John Gillies. “Stanislavski, Othello, and the Motives of Eloquence”




October 25:    The Shakespeare “Revolution”

Reading:  Marion O’Connor, “Reconstructive Shakespeare:  Reproducing Elizabethan and Jacobean Stages”; Marion O’Connor, “‘Useful in the Year 1999’:  William Poel and Shakespeare’s ‘Build of Stage.’”  


October 30:  The Shakespeare “Revolution” II

Reading:   J.L. Styan, “Barker at the Savoy”; essays by H. Granville Barker; Laurence Senelick, “Moscow and Monodrama:  The Meaning of the Craig-Stanislavsky Hamlet.”


November 1:  [TO BE ANNOUNCED]


November 6:  Director’s Theatre

Reading:  Ralph Berry, “Jonathan Miller,” “Robin Philips (I),” “Peter Brook,” and “Robin Philips (II)”; Miller; John Russell Brown, “Directors and Scholars:  The Intellectual Response” and “Performance:  Directors, Designers and Actors”;  W.B. Worthen, “Shakespeare’s Auteurs:  Directing Authority”


November 8:  Rediscovering Shakespeare’s Stagecraft

Reading:  James C. Bulman, “Shakespeare and Performance Theory” in Bulman; Stanley Wells, “John Barton’s Richard II, 1973-4; Cary M. Mazer, “Historicizing Alan Dessen:  Scholarship, Stagecraft, and the ‘Shakespeare Revolution,” in Bulman.




November 13:  Against Character

Reading:  Catherine Belsey, “Unity”; Alan Sinfield, “When is a Character Not a Character:  Desdemona, Olivia, Lady Macbeth, and Subjectivity”; Bridget Escolme, “Actors, Academics, Selves”; Roberta Barker, “Inner Monologues:  Realist Acting and/as Shakespearian Performance Text.”


November 15:  Politics and Performance

Reading:  W.B. Worthen, “Shakespeare’s Body:  Acting and the Designs of Authority”; Richard P. Knowles, “Shakespeare, Voice, and Ideology:  Interrogating the Natural Voice” in Bulman; Denis Salter, Acting Shakespeare in Postcolonial Space” in Bulman; 


November 19:  Politics and Performance II

Reading:  Barbara Hodgdon, “Looking for Mr. Shakespeare after ‘The Revolution’:  Robert Lepage’s Intercultural Dream Machine” in Bulman.  Ric Knowles, “Theory:  Towards a Materialist Semiotics,” “The Stratford Festival,” and “The English Shakespeare Company”; Alan Sinfield, “Royal Shakespeare:  Theatre and the Making of Ideology.”




November 27:  “Original Practices”

Reading:  Dennis Kennedy, “Shakespeare and Cultural Tourism”; W.B. Worthen, “Reconstructing the Globe, Constructing Ourselves”; Don Weingust, “First Folio Techniques to Performance:   The Original Shakespeare Company at the International Shakespeare’s Globe Center”; Cary M. Mazer, “Historicizing Spontaneity:  The Illusion of the First Time of ‘The Illusion of the First Time’”; Tiffany Stern, “(Re:)Historicizing Spontaneity: Original Practices, Stanislavski, and Characterisation”; Cary M. Mazer, response to Stern’s “(Re:)Historicizing Spontaneity.”


November 29:  Playing with Gender

Reading:  James C. Bulman, “Bringing Cheek by Jowl’s As You Like It Out of the Closet:  The Politics of Queer Theatre”; Cary M. Mazer, “Rosalind’s Breast”; Elizabeth Klett, “Redressing the Balance:  All-Female Shakespeare at the Globe Theatre” .


December 4:  Post Modernism

Reading:  W. B. Worthen, “Hamlet at Ground Zero: The Wooster Group and the Archive of Performance”; W. B. “The Written Troubles of the Brain’:  Sleep No More and the Space of Character.”


December 6:  Catch-up and conclusions.



There will be TWO take-home essay assignments (approximately 5 pages), plus a final term paper (approximately 10-12 pages).  The topic for the final term paper must MUST BE APPROVED IN ADVANCE.




Please familiarize yourself with the rules of academic intergrity, at  I will rigorously pursue violations of the code.


James C. Bulman’s Shakespeare, Theory, and Performance can be purchased at the Penn Book Center, 34th and Sansom Sts.  There is a Blackboard web site for this course, to which you are automatically subscribed, which includes an electronic copy of the syllabus, and (under “Course Documents”) downloadable .pdf files of all of the rest of the course readings.


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The syllabus for this course is available at