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Shakespeare's Visual Theatre: Staging the Personified Characters. By Frederick Kiefer. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003; pp. xiv + 358; 40 illus. $75 cloth.

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 October 2005

Kevin De Ornellas
Queen's University


Frederick Kiefer's Shakespeare's Visual Theatre: Staging the Personified Characters is a deceptively modest study, focusing on staged abstract representations and deities such as Spring, Time, Juno, and Ceres: “walking, talking personifications” (13). Kiefer presents case studies of individual personifications in particular plays, always speculating on their appearance in original stagings, and, most important, stressing their significance for contemporary and subsequent readings of the action. In the process, he compellingly argues for the significance of spectacle in Shakespeare's theatre. Though the length of the book might seem daunting, 138 pages are composed solely of impeccable notes, a meaty bibliography, and a useful index. The well-illustrated 220 pages of actual text are clear, jargon-free, learned, and convincing.

Brief Report
© 2005 The American Society for Theatre Research, Inc.

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