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Non-Shakespearean Drama and Performance

Introduction

Sarah Werner and Pascale Aebischer

1Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 “Non-Shakespearean Drama and Performance: Critical Implications” arose out of our desire to have a conversation about what is at stake in defining performance studies beyond the terrain of Shakespeare and a belief that the methodologies and approaches established in Shakespearean performance studies do not unproblematically map onto the study of performances of plays by other early modern dramatists. Some of the questions we asked contributors to consider, within the confines of a two- to three-thousand word essay, were:

  • 2Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0
  • How does the study of performances of plays by Shakespeare’s contemporaries, precursors and successors impact on our understanding of Renaissance drama and dramaturgies?
  • Conversely, how does the study of plays by Renaissance dramatists other than Shakespeare change our understanding of what performance is and how it works?
  • What methodological and terminological issues arise from a focus on Shakespeare’s contemporaries in performance?
  • How does embedding Shakespeare’s plays in a wider dramatic context (Renaissance and present-day) contribute to our understanding of the role of Renaissance drama in present-day performance?
  • How can awareness of actual or potential performance impact on editorial and reading practices?

3Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 Papers in the seminar took these questions as their starting point and came back with studies that focused on early modern theatrical practices, modern film and theater performances of non-Shakespearean drama, and the intersection of these concerns with those of gender, teaching, and media reception. The papers in this cluster focused on some of the larger questions the seminar raised and, in turn, raised further questions about what might be gained and what might be lost by turning our attention to non-Shakespearean drama.

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