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The Roaring Girl in Retrospect: the RSC Production of 1983

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 August 2014


With its second revival of The Roaring Girl now in the Royal Shakespeare Company's repertory, Chi-fang Sophia Li documents in this article the making of the first production, as directed by Barry Kyle in 1983. She reviews the other RSC productions that informed Kyle's directorial approach, and, using the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Library's archival materials and a research interview, she attempts a reconstructive criticism of Kyle's project of ‘theatrical archaeology’, arguing that what Kyle did was adapt Dekker and Middleton's Jacobean angst about the radical economic changes of the first decade of King James's reign to articulate current anxieties about Thatcherite economic ‘reforms’. The revival became compellingly invested with Kyle's critical reflections on triumphalist capitalism and ‘Victorian values’. Chi-fang Sophia Li is Assistant Professor of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature at National Sun Yat-sen University in Taiwan. She has also published in Shakespeare Bulletin, Notes and Queries, and English Studies (Routledge), and in Chinese in Review of English and American Literature.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2014 

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