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EN2500 Shakespeare from Page to Stage

Summer Reading List 2017-18

Course Leader: Dr Christie Carson

Brief Introduction

‘Shakespeare from Page to Stage’ actively encourages joint-honours students to reflect on the processes, as well as the creative tension and cross-fertilisation between Drama and English studies.  The course is studied in the English Department in the autumn term and in the Drama Department in the spring term. The two halves of the course will employ contrasting but complementary approaches. The focus of the first term will be on Shakespeare the playwright; therefore the emphasis of the textual analysis will be on the rhetorical strategies employed as well as the plays’ dramatic structure.  The second term will place greater attention on Shakespeare as performed, looking at casting practices and the politics of race and gender in contemporary productions on stage and film.

Essential Reading

  • William Shakespeare, King Lear,
  • Anthony and Cleopatra,
  • All’s Well that Ends Well
  • The Taming of the Shrew

If you plan to study more Shakespeare in the English Department then you may want to purchase the new edition of The Norton Shakespeare, which includes an ebook edition. You are also asked to consider the introduction to at least one other edition, so you may prefer to buy these plays in single editions. Any scholarly edition of the plays will do (Oxford, Cambridge, Arden). In Drama you will be asked to bring a text you can work with in rehearsals so single texts editions are best for the second half of the course. These can be purchased or borrowed from the Library.

The critical writings for the autumn term are drawn together in Reconceiving the Renaissance, Ewan Fernie, et al. eds. (Oxford, 2005) which we strongly recommend you buy. In the first class of the autumn term it will be assumed that you have read the ‘Introduction’ to this Reader.

In order to get the most out of this course you need to

  1. read as much Shakespeare as possible
  2. see as much Shakespeare in the theatre and on film as possible
  3. read widely in criticism

Initially we strongly encourage you to take advantage of the live screenings available in cinemas as well as the many Shakespeare productions performed outdoors over the summer months.

It is also extremely important to see a least one theatre production at the Globe Theatre and ideally one production in the Sam Wanamaker playhouse. The actual experience of encountering these spaces is critical.

There are two productions of King Lear on the Digital Theatre Plus website which all registered students have access to through the Library’s Digital Resources page. The first is starring Jonathan Pryce https://www.digitaltheatreplus.com/productions/king-lear and the second one is starring James Earl Jones https://www.digitaltheatreplus.com/collections/broadway-digital-archive/king-lear.

For Antony and Cleopatra there is an excellent production from the Globe Theatre which you will have access to through DramaOnlinet: https://www.globeplayer.tv/videos/antony-and-cleopatra.

For All’s Well that Ends Well there are two productions on the Globeplayer.tv website, one in English by the Globe company https://globeplayer.tv/videos/all-s-well-that-ends-well and one in Gujarati by Arana Theatre company (with English subtitles) https://www.globeplayer.tv/videos/all-s-well-that-ends-well-gujarati . The Globe’s own production through Drama Online. This particular production can be found at http://www.dramaonlinelibrary.com/plays/alls-well-that-ends-well-iid-154873.

For Taming of the Shrew please watch the film version directed by Franco Zeffirelli and starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor over the summer (available on DVD). There is a good production of the play available on Digital Theatre Plus from the Broadway Archive. There are also interviews with two actors who have played the role of Kate, one male and one female. https://www.digitaltheatreplus.com/collections/broadway-digital-archive/the-taming-of-the-shrew .

Taming of the Shrew is another of the productions that can be viewed through DramaOnline at http://www.dramaonlinelibrary.com/plays/the-taminq-of-the-shrewglobe-on-screen-iid-154878

This year there is also a rare opportunity to see a staged reading of The Taming of a Shrew as part of the Globe’s Read not Dead series.  It will be performed in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse on 2nd October and student tickets cost £12.  Further information is available here: http://www.shakespearesglobe.com/education/events/productions/read-not-dead/swp.

Over the summer you may wish to consider some of the freely available interviews with actors and directors that are currently available on the Globe Theatre's website https://globeplayer.tv/museoffire .

All students will be automatically enrolled on the Moodle site for the course. This will allow you to access of the additional digital content listed above.

Enjoy the summer and please see as much Shakespeare as possible!


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