Reimagining Shakespeare's Playhouse

Reimagining Shakespeare's Playhouse

Early Modern Staging Conventions in the Twentieth Century

Joe Falocco





An examination of the recreation of Renaissance staging traditions in modern performances.
`Provocative, very readable, and extremely widely researched; it will be an important intervention in many ongoing debates.' LUCY MUNRO, Senior Lecturer in English, Keele University

Numerous attempts have been made in the modern and postmodern era to recreate the staging conventions of Shakespeare's theatre, from William Poel to the founders of the New Globe. This volume examines the work of these directors, analysing their practical successes and failures; it also engages with the ideological critiques of early modern staging advanced by scholars such as W.B. Worthen and Ric Knowles. The author argues that rather than indulging in archaism for its own sake, the movement looked backward in a progressive attempt to address the challenges of the twentieth century.
The book begins with a re-examination of the conventional view of Poel as an antiquarian crank. Subsequent chapters are devoted to Harley Granville Barker and Nugent Monck; the author argues that while Barker's major contribution was the dubious achievement of establishing the movement's reputation as an essentially literary phenomenon, Monck took the first tentative steps toward an architectural reimagining of modern performance spaces, an advance which led to later triumphs in early modern staging. The book then traces the sporadic and irregular development of Tyrone Guthrie's commitment to early modern practices. The final chapter looks at how competing historical theories of playhouse design influenced the construction of the Globe, while the conclusion discusses the ongoing potential of early modern staging in the new millennium.
Dr Joe Falocco is Lecturer in English, Texas State University.

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July 2010
16 black and white illustrations
216 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9781843842415
Format: Hardback
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Table of Contents

William Poel
Harley Granville Barker
Nugent Monck
Tyrone Guthrie
The New Globe
Works Cited


[A] thoroughly researched and provocative study. CONTEMPORARY THEATRE REVIEW

An illuminating, well-researched historiography. SHAKESPEARE BULLETIN

A nuanced, highly detailed study of modern attempts to re-create Elizabethan conventions and playing spaces. CHOICE

This book is as good as it gets on the controversy surrounding the architecture of the Elizabethan stage and the performance practices permitted or enforced by it. Joe Falocco writes with clarity, wisdom and a theatrical understanding far more reliable than that of most of the familiar participants in the debate. [His] artfully constructed book opens up new ways among the old. It is generous, optimistic, eloquent and fresh. STUDIES IN THEATRE AND PERFORMANCE