Talk:Shakespeare in performance

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Former good article nominee Shakespeare in performance was a Media and drama good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
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Date Process Result
August 24, 2007 Good article nominee Not listed
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Nice article! I don't like the title 'Shakespearean performances' though; 'Shakespearean' means 'like Shakespeare', whereas this article is about performances of Shakespeare. In academic study, this subject is called "Shakespeare in Performance" (try googling it and you'll see what I mean). I think that would be better. The Drama Llama 17:40, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

Doesn't matter overly to me. Right now Shakespeare in performance is a redirect to this article, but we can easily turn that around. However, let's wait a bit to get comments from others and make sure the consensus is to do this. Best,--Alabamaboy 18:05, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
Done.--Alabamaboy 00:36, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

20th-21st century[edit]

This article is great! Is there any way to add more recent performances? The article kind of trails off in the middle of the 1930s... Wrad 01:08, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for the kind words. I'll see what I can come up with.--Alabamaboy 14:23, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

I would very much like to see a section on this or one of the other wikipedia shakespeare pages that has a discussion or at least of plays which are based on shakespeare, ie rozencrantz and guildenstern are dead, goodnight desdemonona, Macbett by Ionesco. The closest thing is the list of texts with titles based on shakespeare but I think that texts which are entirely based on shakespeare derseve more mention. P.s. if this isn't the correct format for notes, I'm sorry I don't really know how to use wikipedia ( (talk) 05:04, 12 March 2009 (UTC)),

GA fail[edit]

This is an excellent beginning to a very broad topic - nice work. I think, though, that a few improvements will make it even better.

Missing information:

  • The article contains a lot of good information on British performances and some about Europe and America, but what about the rest of the world? Since Shakespeare has been translated into so many languages, I would assume that his plays have been performed outside of the Western world.
    • This is a good point. I haven't seen much at all on wikipedia about foreign performances of Shakespeare. I may take this under wing. Wrad 20:24, 28 August 2007 (UTC)
  • There is also very little sustained information on the time period from the 1930s to the present.


  • I added quite a few fact tags to the article. For GA, all of the major claims of the article need to be sourced. I'm sure you'll have no trouble filling these in.


  • Perhaps a more exciting first sentence?
  • What do you think about including Shakespeare's dates in the sentence "While Shakespeare was alive" for the uninformed reader?
  • I would mention that Shakespeare had an association with the Lord Chamberlain's Men and the King's Men.
  • "Puritan rulers" sounds a little ominous - what about "Commonwealth government"?
  • After the English Restoration - What about "After the restoration of Charles II in 1660"?
  • Somehow it has to be made clear that actual thunder and lightning were not being used. :)
  • an undertaking which has seemed shockingly disrespectual to posterity - "Posterity" needs to be more precise - it did not seem shocking to the eighteenth century or the nineteenth century and they were posterity, too. Many movie adaptations of Shakespeare today also loosely adapt his plays, so this sentence needs to be qualified.
  • Why is "authentic" in quotes? If the nineteenth century thought their costumes were authentic, we shouldn't use scare quotes.
  • Did nineteenth-century viewers think that the plays lost pace? If so, that needs to be made clearer.
  • You might explain "quarto and folio" versions for the uninitiated.

Performances during Shakespeare's lifetime:

  • It is not clear for whom Shakespeare wrote his earliest plays - This is a little vague - what about something like "It is not clear for which acting companies Shakespeare wrote his earliest plays..."
  • After the plagues of 1592–3, Shakespeare's plays were performed by the Lord Chamberlain's Men - The relationship between the plague and the Lord Chamberlain's Men is unclear - Do you mean after the theatres were closed for the plague?
  • After the plagues of 1592–3, Shakespeare's plays were performed by the Lord Chamberlain's Men, a playing company of which Shakespeare was a member, at The Theatre and the Curtain in Shoreditch, north of the Thames. - too long
  • Tell the reader who Leonard Digges is in a short identificatory phrase.
  • Do we know what the neighborhood protests were about?
  • After 1608, they performed at the indoor Blackfriars Theatre during the winter and the Globe during the summer - This sentence appears twice.
  • The indoor setting, combined with the Jacobean vogue for lavishly staged masques, created new conditions for performance which enabled Shakespeare to introduce more elaborate stage devices. - wordy
  • I would include something in this section about how boys played the female roles. That is an important fact about Elizabethan casting.

Interregnum and Restoration:

  • The first sentence of this section repeats the lead exactly - a bit of variation would be nice.
  • Shakespeare was among the many playwrights whose works were plundered for these scenes. - "Plundered" sounds a bit POV.
  • writers such as William Davenant and Nahum Tate often rewrote Shakespeare's plays - "write" appears twice

18th century:

  • In the 18th century, Shakespeare dominated the London stage, while Shakespeare productions turned increasingly into the creation of star turns for star actors. - awkward and repetitive
  • age appropriateness was nothing, the power to command and electrify audiences was all - this is fun, but perhaps unencyclopedic
  • I would identify the authors you mention in a short phrase, so that the uninformed reader has some idea of who they are.

19th century:

  • and the acting editions used were progressively cut and restructured to emphasize more and more the soliloquies and the stars, at the expense of pace and action - "acting editions of Shakespeare's plays" perhaps?; also, do we need "more and more" - what about "increasingly" or something like that?
  • The second paragraph of this section repeats the lead word-for-word. A little expansion and rewording would be a good idea, I think.
  • Isn't Sarah Siddons considered an eighteenth-century star?
  • The acme of spectacle, star, and soliloquy Shakespeare performance came with the reign of actor-manager Henry Irving at the Royal Lyceum Theatre in London from 1878 to 1899. - awkward

20th century:

  • Opening paragraph simply repeats the lead.
  • I would eliminate the one-sentence paragraph either by collapsing it into another paragraph or expanding it.
  • These productions paved the way for the modern-dress Shakespearean productions that we are familiar with today. - Who is the "we"?
  • In 1936, Orson Welles brought Macbeth to Harlem in the groundbreaking production casting only African American actors. - awkward wording
  • The black community took to the production thoroughly - but earlier, the paragraph suggests that it was controversial - I don't quite follow


  • Might the mid-eighteenth century Macklin and Garrick material be inserted in the "18th century" section? It doesn't chronologically fit in the "Interregnum and Restoration" section.
  • I would delete the "Shakespeare on screen" section since it is an entirely different article and a few sentences can't do it justice - perhaps a link in the "See also" section?
  • Integrating the material from "Dress and design" into the chronological history seems like a good idea, since the article is not arranged topically.


  • Most of the images are on the right - could they be staggered to make the page more aesthetically pleasing?
  • Would it be possible to find an image for the twentieth-century section?


  • I thought we didn't link the bold subject in the first sentence? The MOS changes so fast, though...
  • Apostrophe "s's" go inside the link.
  • The links need to be looked over carefully - there are some doubles within sections and some obvious words like "plays" and "theater" are linked.

If you have any questions about this review, drop me a line on my talk page. Awadewit | talk 22:34, 24 August 2007 (UTC)

Image switcheroo[edit]

I've substituted the image of Betterton as Hamlet for the stage picture that was there before; my reasoning was that the picture didn't, unfortunately, illustrate the caption (the apron stage being virtually invisible). There's a great drawing by Walter Hodge of a restoration theatre, but I presume it's still in copyright (besides not being of Shakespeare specifically).

I moved the picture of Garrick as Richard III down to the c18th section, rather than Restoration. I also moved the copy from the Restoration section about him down, though its integration is a bit clumsy at the moment. If anyone can improve it, so much the better.

I've also added the delightful Cushman sisters' R&J to the c19th section; I like the way Juliet looks a bit like young Victoria. —Preceding unsigned comment added by DionysosProteus (talkcontribs) 03:38, August 29, 2007 (UTC) DionysosProteus 20:14, 28 August 2007 (UTC)

Relationship of staging methods from Shakes to Restoration[edit]

Hello all. This paragraph appeared today:

Staging at first differed in emphasis rather than in the fundamental nature of performance. Restoration theaters had a relatively large area behind the proscenium arch, corresponding to the Elizabethan inner stage; it had a relatively smaller apron that corresponded to the Elizabethan thrust stage. Though the relative size of the areas had changed, their uses remained similar. The apron remained the site of declamation, of outdoor and street scenes. The inner stage remained the location for scenes that required elaborate sets that required time to assemble. Entrance was by the wings and by doors in the proscenium arch; the Resoration stage also had "hells" both in the apron and in the inner stage.

I've added a fact tag as it seemed too rude just to delete, but there are major problems throughout this paragraph. Firstly, the 'inner stage' at the Globe is a contentious issue. Though the performance dynamic is useful, I'm not sure thrust stage inner stage is the best way to describe that relation on the Shakespearean stage. Secondly, I fear staging techniques from a century or two later are being projected back anachronistically here; the area behind the pros was very, very dark and pretty small. While some scholars think it could have been used for acting, most likely it wasn't, at least not in the genres we're talking about here. While there are correspondences, these are not the ones. Most Restoration comedies, for example, are played entirely on the apron, with many scenes indoors. The reference to the increase of spectacle is relevant to the operatic adaptations, but if they are what's meant then the continuity of staging practices evaporates. Here's a sectional plan of Drury Lane from 1674 (probably):

Wren's sectional plan of Drury Lane, 1674.jpg

As you can see, the apron stage is huge, about the same depth as the area behind the pros arch; once you take into account the diminishing sightlines, the apron is the far larger space, with the two doors either side opening on to it. It would be good if we could talk in terms of actual measurements when comparing the thrust and apron. Most of the action occurred on the apron and entrances were through the doors only, I think. Rather than trying to draw parallels too closely with the architecture, I'd recommend talking in terms of neutrality / localization, and actor-audience contact. It's important to outline the different theatre architecture, definitely. Perhaps the indoor theatres are a better point of comparison? My impulse is to suggest that the differences in architecture be stressed, but the continuity of performance mode (which is what I think was being aimed for); When the casual reader reads pros arch, they think in fourth wall terms, so that needs to be narrated too. Sorry if this sounds overly negative or unclear. .. about to call it a night. DionysosProteus

To be developed[edit]

A note to myself as much as a request to others: there are (at least) two major Shakespeare productions from the twentieth century missing: Peter Brook's A Midsummer Night's Dream (1968?) and Peter Stein's As You Like It. The building of Shakespeare's Globe and its unquestioned success is also a major development. Need to talk about Shakespearean theatre companies like the RSC too.

Note also: I disagree strongly with the proposal above to remove the "On Screen" section. The interrelationship between stage and screen is a major part of contemporary Shakespeare production, and the relationship between text, stage, and screen is as vital a part in our culture's shift from a literate to a "post-literate", audio-visually-centered one, as the text-stage relationship was in Shakespeare's shift from an oral to a literate culture. DionysosProteus 13:41, 27 October 2007 (UTC)


Plays are meant to be spoken; yet the article has nothing about the sounds of Shakespeare's language. There has been a wide variety of spoken English over the last half millenium and in many parts of the world. Shakespeare lived near the beginning of the great vowel shift; so no modern English can reproduce the original pronunciation of his plays. Examples:

The doggerel in As You Like It in which "Rosalind" is rhymed with (seemingly) every possible word ending in "ind" is often played for more comedy than Shakespeare intended, by mispronouncing modern English to force the rhymes, which were not faulty in his time.

Ironically, although American English comes somewhat closer to Shakespeare's English, American productions often mistakenly assume that modern British pronunciation is more "authentic", since Shakespeare was English.

British productions often presume that Shakespeare's characters would speak in the British class accents that would be heard from modern Britons. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:13, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

21st Century?[edit]

So, are we to believe that the only relevant 21st century staging of Shakespeare is the "Jude Law Hamlet", as it occupies 98% of the section, with detailed cast and performance history? (the remainder being a gracious mention of the Propeller company...) -- megA (talk) 22:26, 31 August 2011 (UTC)