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Monday, May 21, 2012

A great quote about Shakespeare


Hi everybody,

I thought you might like this quote, from the Introduction to The Oxford Shakespeare: The Complete Works, about the process of printing of plays during Shakespeare's time, a process which Shakespeare himself "seems to have taken no interest in":

"John Marston, introducing the printed text of his play The Malcontent in 1604, wrote: 'Only one thing afflicts me, to think that scenes invented merely to be spoken, should be enforcively published to be read.' Perhaps Shakespeare was similarly afflicted."

It begs the question why Shakespeare would not have taken fuller advantage of printing and publishing his own plays in his lifetime.

The only works he took an interest in publishing were his narrative poems Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece, which were meant for an audience of readers.

In my adaptations of the plays, I wanted to get right back to the moments when they were seen for the first time. If Shakespeare did not publish his plays, then perhaps they were meant only for his London audience. If they were meant only for his London audience, then perhaps the plays are not for any other audience, including us.

Therefore, I thought it was critical to take us back in time. And yes, in that context, they are very different plays, unlike any Shakespeare we have come to expect.

Cheers,

David