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Shakespearean Performance: New Studies, ed. Frank Occhiogrosso. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2008.
This is a volume of essays presented at the Drew University Conference, "Shakespeare in Performance II." The title plays off the earlier volume of essays, Shakespeare in Performance: A Collection of Essays, deriving from the earlier 1999 conference at Drew University. Both conferences were convened and both volumes edited (and well) by Professor Frank Occhiogrosso.
The present volume contains ten essays, all of which have sufficient interest to make it regrettable that there is room here to comment in some detail on only about half of them. Of those being afforded only short shrift, James C. Bulman's "Bearding the Queen: Male Cross-Dressing at the New Globe" considers the significance of all-male productions--especially the 2002 Twelfth Night--to the "queer theory" contention that gender is socially performative rather than biological, and observes some crucial differences in the effect of using adult males in place of the boy actresses of Shakespeare's time: Jean E. Howard's "Stage Masculinities, National History, and the Making of London Theatrical Culture" surveys the development of critical male roles throughout the First Tetralogy as evidence of Shakespeare's practical response to the need for variety within overwhelmingly male casts of characters so as to maximize the appeal of his fellow actors; Andrew Gurr's "Sam Wanamaker's Invention: Lessons from the New Globe" is a series of reflections on what the first seven years of performance seem to have established--largely for Gurr, that the Globe itself exercises powerful potentialities for success or failure for any performance; and Cary M. Mazer's "The Play Within the Play Outside the Play" analyzes a number of productions that make use of the play-within-a-play framework (including one he himself directed), arriving at a generalized insight that the frame's greater reality is crucial, although what greater reality in fact means in a particular case seems always to be a question to be asked.
Corinne C. Abate's …