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Theatre artists have always interpreted the plays of Shakespeare for their own audiences. Over the past two decades, however, I would suggest that actors, directors and designers have had to work increasingly hard to create an imaginative bridge between the period of creation and the period of representation.

The work of designers for many years has developed an increasing understanding of the plays through visual metaphor and analogy. The productions that have cast actors of a different gender to the character have relied on the power of the actor to convey the role but have also instigated debates about the nature of gender both now and in Shakespeare's day. Directors working in new kinds of theatre spaces and, in particular, the work at the Globe Theatre have developed new visceral and kinetic connections with the audience due to a new kind of relationship with the actors on (and off) the stage. I argue that these experiments in interpretation and audience interaction deserve careful consideration and assessment by scholars.

I suggest also that the advent of digital technology provides never before imagined access both to materials about performance and about the creative process that leads to performance. These materials in their turn demand that new forms of writing and presentation be developed, forms which allow for the audio-visual and spatial elements of performance to be discussed. The model I present and the issues I raise in the preceding pages illustrate just one possible approach the creation of a visual argument but I hope it is an approach that will, like the productions it describes, provoke a debate in my audience.

As You Like it - Click to view larger image

Page 6 of 7
Introduction page 2 - Visual argument page 3 -  Politics and performance of place  page 4 - Audience, Actor and Space page 5 - Audience, Actor and space Current page page 7- Step by Step guide

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