By Gary Jay Williams
In his richly particular, fantastically illustrated historical past of Shakespeare's most well liked play - the 1st complete learn of A Midsummer Night's Dream within the theatre - Gary Jay Williams covers 400 years of landmark productions in Europe, the us, and Canada in addition to very important opera, dance, and movie variations. Williams indicates how the visible and musical vocabularies of construction should be learn as cultural texts and the way those mediative texts confirm this play's on hand meanings from new release to new release. His account, then, is the tale of our imaginitive and staggering makes use of of Shakespeare's play. Williams bargains distinctive theatrical and cultural analyses of the productions of David Garrick, Ludwig Tieck, Elizabeth Vestris, Charles Kean, Harley Granville-Barker, Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree, Max Reinhardt, Peter Brook, Liviu Ciulei, and different artists. His enticing, clever learn might be worthwhile to students and academics of Shakespeare and theatre heritage and to specialist administrators, designers, critics, and actors.
Read or Download Our Moonlight Revels: A Midsummer Night's Dream in the Theatre (Studies in Theatre History and Culture) PDF
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Extra resources for Our Moonlight Revels: A Midsummer Night's Dream in the Theatre (Studies in Theatre History and Culture)
As to comparisons to the composition of the Folio Merry Wives of Windsor, we should be cautious about concluding from what may have been a special case that A Midsummer Night's Dream was similarly designed for a court occasion. Testing the wedding-play theory against playhouse practices, I have suggested that plays programmed closely to court occasions would have ill suited a professional company that was primarily dependent for its livelihood on its public playhouse and that moved, probably quickly, between its public and court venues.
3 I shall show that the theory has never been convincingly supported, and I shall argue on the grounds of Elizabethan theatre practice that it is very unlikely that the play was topically designed. I shall also show why the wedding-play myth has persisted despite its evidentiary weaknesses and explain (in this chapter and thereafter) the cultural work the myth has been doing both in the academy and in the theatre. Several important matters are at stake in disentangling the play from the theory.
May and Wiles have argued that the play abounds in allusions to the Careys. 53 Wiles sees the Folio's Egeus as George Carey. 54 Even supposing that Shakespeare programmed all this and astrology, too, into his play, one wonders what he would have to gain by pushing a comparison between the cranky Egeus and his company's patron. And if Wiles is right, the audience might well have gathered that Elizabeth had disobeyed her father in the choice of her husband, as the unruly Hermia does. The play treats what were probably topical issues: the extent to which sons and daughters were the property of the father to manage to the best advantage and the extent to which love should be considered in arranged marriages.