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Shakespeare at the Moment: Playing the Comedies

Shakespeare at the Moment: Playing the Comedies
Author: Albert Bermel
ISBN 13: 9780325002057
ISBN 10: 325002053
Edition: N/A
Publisher: Heinemann Drama
Publication Date: 2000-08-01
Format: Paperback
Pages: 352
List Price: $24.98

Certainty may give way to misgiving, happiness may become unease. Moment-to-moment changes often make actors and directors pause and ponder when deciding to perform a Shakespeare comedy. But this should not be the case, claims theatre scholar Albert Bermel. In Shakespeare at the Moment, Bermel contends that Shakespeare's comedies depend for their effects on their sparkling inconsistency and spontaneity, and on the opportunities they offer for artistic ingenuity and initiative. The book discusses fifteen plays, addressing Shakespeare's experimentation, the power and intelligence of his inconsistencies, his novel "happy" endings, and ultimately, how each comedy can be performed. Among other things, Bermel argues that:

  • The characters in these plays are not rigidified personalities, and actors will, almost inevitably, add their own "characterizations" to their roles.
  • Shakespeare created scenes and roles that actors can rediscover and remake without being untrue to the words.
  • Shakespeare's female roles are the most persuasive and familiar carriers of the feminine spirit in today's theatre world
Bermel encourages actors to reinvent and "characterize" Shakespeare's characters in their own acting, and he provides examples of how the comedies have already responded to the imaginative treatment of a director and the memorable dynamism of particular actors.