Shakespeare in Performance

Inside the Creative Process

Michael Flachmann knows Shakespeare. Not only does he have 40 years experience teaching Shakespeare as an English professor at California State University, Bakersfield, but he spends his summers working at the Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City, Utah, and with other professional companies as dramaturg—a scholar-in-residence who helps actors, directors, and designers bring Shakespeare’s scripts to life on stage.

Flachmann’s unique and intimate acquaintance with the way plays are created and performed has given him unprecedented insider access to a wide range of fascinating information. In this collection, Flachmann brings the plays to life as he discusses their meanings and shares the challenges of performing them for a modern audience. Written in language that will engage scholars, directors, theatre-goers, and everyone who loves reading and watching the Bard’s plays, Shakespeare in Performance takes the reader inside design conversations, rehearsal halls, and actor discussions for a behind-the-scenes look at some of the mysteries of professional theatre usually shared only by those within this cloistered creative process.

Michael Flachmann is a professor of English at California State University, Bakersfield.

Table of Contents:
List of Figures
The Birth of a Festival
Part 1/Dramaturgy
     Dream Making in Cedar City
     The Merchant of Ashland
     Rehearsing the Audience
     Designing the Script
     Cymbeline in the Wooden O
     The Kindest Cut of All
Part 2/The Comedies
     The Errors of Comedy
     “Touches of Sweet Harmony”
     The Forest of Arden
     “Swear by Your Double Self”
     Festive Comedy
     The Sins of the Father
     The Two Comic Plots of Verona
     My Daughter, My Ducats
     “This is Illyria, Lady”
     Love’s Labor’s Won
     The Taming of the Script
     Much Ado about Something
Part 3/The Histories
     Parrot, Parody, and Paronomasia
     Historical Narratives
     Richard III and the Theatricality of Evil
     Poetic History
Part 4/The Tragedies
     The Medieval Heritage of Iago
     Family Matters
     Lear’s Mythic Journey
     Biological Finance
     The Scottish Play
     The Art of Dying Well
     All “My Travels’ History”
     The Rhythm of the Kiss
Part 5/The Romances
     All Corners of the World
     This Rough Magic
     “It Is Required You Do Awake Your Faith”
Part 6/Shakespeare’s Contemporaries and Other Playwrights
     Food for Thought
     Awl’s Well That Ends Well
     The Heart of the Matter
     Invalids, Real and Imaginary
     A Modern Jacobean Comedy
Part 7/Acting Shakespeare: Roundtable Discussions with Actors and Directors
     Measure for Measure at the 2003 Utah Shakespeare Festival
     Henry IV, Part 1 at the 2004 Utah Shakespeare Festival
     Romeo and Juliet at the 2005 Utah Shakespeare Festival
     Hamlet at the 2006 Utah Shakespeare Festival
     King Lear at the 2007 Utah Shakespeare Festival
     Othello at the 2008 Utah Shakespeare Festival
     Henry V at the 2009 Utah Shakespeare Festival