Description - Shakespeare the Player by John Southworth
Shakespeare the Player overturns traditional images of the Bard, arguing that Shakespeare cannot be separated from his profession as actor any more than he can be separated from his works.
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(198mm x 127mm x 10mm)
Sutton Publishing Ltd
Publisher: The History Press Ltd
Country of Publication:
Other Editions - Shakespeare the Player by John Southworth
Book Reviews - Shakespeare the Player by John Southworth
UK Kirkus Review »
Another book about Shakespeare? With the publication in the last two years of the excellent Park Honan biography and the more populist appeal of Anthony Holden's book, surely everything has been said for this generation at least. But Southworth takes a different approach. Writing from the perspective of a former actor and director, he is reclaiming Shakespeare the player and putting him back where he belongs, on the stage, as a 'full time, wholly committed professional player and man of the theatre.' He uses the known data already exhaustively researched by academics, acknowledging his sources meticulously in his notes at the end, but interpretes the same evidence with his experience and knowldege of the plays to give a wholly convinving picture of Shakespeare's working life; work which continued up to his death, he believes. Every writer has a different theory about what Shakespeare was doing during the so-called 'lost years' of his youth, and none of them can be proved, so Southworth's idea of Shakespeare as an apprentice to a senior member of a troupe of players, possibly Worcester's Men, is equally as valid as the next. He explains logically how the young Shakespeare could have had several years of practical experience learning his craft thoroughly and developing the skills which allowed him to spring apparently: fully-formed into the theatrical world. Southworth then goes on to look at the plays, identifying possible influences in his early writings, and showing how his work matured and was adapted to the needs of a specific company of actors, working in a specific society, having to survive as professional people in a time of political uncertainties. He knows the plays inside out and is persuasive in his theories as to which parts Shakespeare would have played as a pivotal member of a group who performed his plays as a collaborative effort. There will be more books about Shakespeare - the gaps between the known facts still tantalise. But Southworth has made an excellent job of rescuing Shakespeare from the literary snobbery which separates the texts from their writer. The picture of Shakespeare as an active, energetic, committed working player is one which fellow actors, scholars and keen theatre-goers will enjoy. (Kirkus UK)
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