1st Edition

European Theatre Performance Practice, 1580-1750

By Robert Henke, M.A. Katritzky Copyright 2014

    This volume presents foundational and representative essays of the last half century on theatre performance practice during the period 1580 to 1750. The particular focus is on the nature of playing spaces, staging, acting and audience response in professional theatre and the selection of previously published research articles and book chapters includes significant works on topics such as Shakespearean staging, French and Spanish theatre audiences, the challenging aspects of the evolution of Italian renaissance acting practice, and the ’hidden’ dimensions of performance. The essays provide coherent transnational coverage as well as detailed treatments of their individual topics. Considerations of theatre practice in Italy, Spain and France, as well as England, place Shakespeare’s theatre in its European context to reveal surprising commonalities and salient differences in the performance practice of early modern Europe’s major professional theatres. This volume is an indispensable reference work for university libraries, lecturers, researchers and practitioners and offers a coherent overview of early modern comparative performance practice, and a deeper understanding of the field’s major topics and developments.

    Contents: Introduction. Part I Playing Spaces: The changing scene: plays and playhouses in the Italian Renaissance, Michael Anderson; The theatres, John Orrell; Staging and performance, Jonathan Thacker; The material conditions of Molière’s stage, Jan Clarke. Part II Staging: Shakespeare’s stage, J.L. Styan; Shakespeare’s theater: tradition and experiment, Robert Weimann; Women at the windows: commedia dell’ arte and theatrical practice in early modern Italy, Jane Tylus; The circulation of clothes and the making of the English theater, Ann Rosalind Jones and Peter Stallybrass; Absorbing interests: Kyd’s bloody handkerchief as palimpsest, Andrew Sofer; Insubstantial pageants: women’s work and the (im)material culture of the early modern stage, Natasha Korda. Part III Acting: Ruzante and the evolution of acting practice in Renaissance Italy, Ronnie Ferguson; Arte dialogue structures in the comedies of Molière, Richard Andrews; Rogues and rhetoricians: acting styles in early English drama, Peter Thomson; Rehearsal, performance and plays, Tiffany Stern; Comic stage routines in Guarinonius’ medical treatise of 1610, M.A. Katritzky; ’La virtu et la volupté’: models for the actress in early modern Italy and France, Virginia Scott; Acting, Gerry McCarthy. Part IV Audiences: The audiences, Andrew Gurr; Theaters and audiences, Stephen Orgel; Women as spectators, spectacles, and paying customers, Jean E. Howard; Toward reconstructing the audiences of the commedia dell’ arte, Robert Henke; The audience, W.L. Wiley; The actors and their audience, N.D. Shergold. Name index.


    Robert Henke is Professor of Drama and Comparative Literature at Washington University, USA and M. A. Katritzky is the Barbara Wilkes Research Fellow in Theatre Studies in the English Department of the Open University, UK.