Shakespeare at the Moment: Playing the Comedies

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2000 Hard cover New. No dust jacket as issued. Trade paperback (US). Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 342 p. Audience: General/trade.

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Certainty may give way to misgiving, happiness may become unease. Moment-to-moment changes often make actors and directors pause and ponder when deciding to perform a Shakespeare comedy. But this should not be the case, claims theatre scholar Albert Bermel. In Shakespeare at the Moment, Bermel contends that Shakespeare's comedies depend for their effects on their sparkling inconsistency and spontaneity, and on the opportunities they offer for artistic ingenuity and initiative. The book discusses fifteen plays, addressing Shakespeare's experimentation, the power and intelligence of his inconsistencies, his novel "happy" endings, and ultimately, how each comedy can be performed. Among other things, Bermel argues that:

  • The characters in these plays are not rigidified personalities, and actors will, almost inevitably, add their own "characterizations" to their roles.
  • Shakespeare created scenes and roles that actors can rediscover and remake without being untrue to the words.
  • Shakespeare's female roles are the most persuasive and familiar carriers of the feminine spirit in today's theatre world
Bermel encourages actors to reinvent and "characterize" Shakespeare's characters in their own acting, and he provides examples of how the comedies have already responded to the imaginative treatment of a director and the memorable dynamism of particular actors.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780325002064
  • Publisher: Heinemann
  • Publication date: 2/11/2000
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 352
  • Age range: 18 years
  • Product dimensions: 6.26 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Meet the Author

Albert Bermel has taught theatre, including Shakespeare's comedies, at Columbia University, Yale School of Drama, the Juilliard School, Lehman College, and the Graduate Center of CUNY. His writings include studies of Moliere, Artaud, two critical books on the modern theatre and the history of Farce, as well as about two hundred shorter essays and theatre reviews for The New Leader.
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Table of Contents


The Comedy of Errors

Twelfth Night, or What You Will

Woman vs. Man

The Taming of the Shrew

Love's Labor's Lost

Much Ado About Nothing

All's Well That Ends Well


The Merchant of Venice

Measure for Measure

Love, True and False

The Two Gentlemen of Verona

Henry IV, Part I

The Merry Wives of Windsor

As You Like It


A Midsummer Night's Dream

The Winter's Tale

The Tempest

Conclusion: Loose Ends

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