Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Masks of A&C

Marvin Rosenberg was an esteemed Shakespeare scholar with an unusual critical approach: his series of "Masks" books ("The Masks of Hamlet," "The Masks of Macbeth," etc.) compiled an impressive range of commentary on production techniques and staging approaches. Instead of speculating about the "ideal production" (as far too many scholars do), Rosenberg beat the bushes until he found a sufficiently broad sampling of moments from actual productions. Only once he had this stage-based evidence in hand did he start to speculate about what Shakespeare might have intended with any given play, scene, character, or line.

For a director, these books are a gold mine of great staging ideas, ripe for the stealing. I made good use of "The Masks of King Lear" in last season's production, and I was disappointed that Rosenberg had died without publishing a volume on A&C.

And then, my Shakespeare listserv informed me that "The Masks of Antony & Cleopatra" had just been published posthumously! That's the good news. The bad news is, it's a massive hardcover volume, and it's priced for academics, not for freelance directors like myself. I'll have to poke around local libraries to see if volumes appear soon enough to make any use of them.

1 comment:

Sheila said...

I can always ILL it for you (she wrote, verbing a noun).