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Book description

Performing Restoration Shakespeare embraces the performative and musical qualities of Restoration Shakespeare (1660–1714), drawing on the expertise of theatre historians, musicologists, literary critics, and - importantly - theatre and music practitioners. The volume advances methodological debates in theatre studies and musicology by advocating an alternative to performance practices aimed at reviving 'original' styles or conventions, adopting a dialectical process that situates past performances within their historical and aesthetic contexts, and then using that understanding to transform them into new performances for new audiences. By deploying these methodologies, the volume invites scholars from different disciplines to understand Restoration Shakespeare on its own terms, discarding inhibiting preconceptions that Restoration Shakespeare debased Shakespeare's precursor texts. It also equips scholars and practitioners in theatre and music with new - and much needed - methods for studying and reviving past performances of any kind, not just Shakespearean ones.


‘Long simply reviled for the abominable crime of tampering with Shakespeare, the Restoration's approach to Shakespeare in performance is ripe for re-assessment. This excellent collection explores the complexities of a theatre culture radically different from Shakespeare's own and yet in many ways intriguingly continuous with ours.'

Peter Holland - University of Notre Dame

‘This unique combination of scholarship with practical theatrical and musical experience will be enjoyable reading for anyone interested in how theatre is made, and useful as well for anyone devising research projects that attempt to combine the expertise of scholars and theatre practitioners. Instead of treating the Davenant Macbeth and the Dryden-Davenant Tempest as travesties of Shakespeare, the contributors provide historical and critical contexts for both texts and music, consider how they can be performed for a modern audience, and describe (often amusingly) the workshops, rehearsals and performance that reveal the complexity of the process of ‘recreation'.'

Lois Potter - University of Delaware

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