Double Shakespeares examines contemporary performances of Shakespeare plays that employ the "emotional realist" traditions of acting that were codified by Stanislavski over a century ago. These performances recognize the inescapable doubleness of realism: that the actor may aspire to be the character but can never fully do so. This doubleness troubled the late-nineteenth-century actors and theorists who first formulated realist modes of acting; and it equally troubles theorists and theatre practitioners today. The book first looks at contemporary performances that foreground the doubleness of the actor's body, particularly through cross-dressing. It then examines narratives of Shakespearean rehearsal-both fictional representations of rehearsal in film and video, and eye-witness narratives of actual rehearsals-and how they show us the process by which the actor does or does not "become" the character. And, finally, it looks at modern performances that "frame" Shakespeare's play as a play-within-a-play, showing the audience both the character in the Shakespeare play-within and the actor in the frame-play acting that character.
Publisher: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press
Number of pages: 214
Weight: 454 g
Dimensions: 236 x 159 x 20 mm
How to achieve emotional truth on stage is a persistent, complicated issue in actor training; how audiences recognize such truth through the innate doubleness of performance-that is, inescapable awareness of both actor and character-is similarly complicated. Bringing to bear his scholarship on Shakespeare and his experience as a director and dramaturg, Mazer tackles multiple aspects of double awareness with a view to conveying the emotional realism of 16th-century characters for often-jaded contemporary theatergoers. He examines historical theories of acting and modern concepts of cross-gendered, cross-racial, and multifaceted representation, grounding his discussion in a wealth of examples from Shakespeare plays and productions. Mazer's wide-ranging allusions are most telling when he describes Shakespeare on stage. . . .The chapters on rehearsal journals and actor memoirs and on the fad for 'framed' productions of Shakespeare bring lucid insights. Seven production photos and chapter endnotes enhance the volume. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals; general readers. * CHOICE *
Cary Mazer's book argues that, for more than a century, techniques of emotional realism have inexorably influenced the way actors on both sides of the Atlantic have approached Shakespearean acting, and the ways audiences have received it. As such, this phenomenon is worth examining, which Mazer does in this insightful book.... Mazer brings the important voice of a scholar-practitioner to the subject: insights gleaned from his own work in the theatre spur some of the book's best arguments.... The book's key insight...is that empathy-the ability for characters and actors and audiences to understand each other-is paramount to successful Shakespearean theatre, and that such empathy is the link between early modern scripts and contemporary performance. That he comes to this insight through experience is in and of itself an important revelation of this thought-provoking book on the practices of today's Shakespearean theatre. * Theatre Survey *
Mazer's applause for Declan Donellan's approach...encapsulates the book's project.... Mazer pursues this and related ideas through an impressive and stimulating range of examples. * Shakespeare Survey *