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Shakespeare in Company$
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Bart van Es

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199569311

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199569311.001.0001

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Control over casting

Control over casting

(p.79) 4 Control over casting
Shakespeare in Company

Bart van Es

Oxford University Press

‘Control over Casting’ begins with the rehearsal scenes of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the amateur dramatics of Love’s Labour’s Lost. It presents the argument that these scenes depend on an entirely new element in English Renaissance dramaturgy, which emerges in Shakespeare’s plays after 1594. This is the phenomenon of physical specificity across a range of parts. One central example of that development comes in the roles that Shakespeare wrote for William Kemp, the lead clown of the Chamberlain’s Men. Physical specificity, however, is also widely in evidence in other roles that Shakespeare wrote for new company, tailored to the capacities of individual sharers, hired men, and boys. In this first chapter dealing with Shakespeare as a ‘company man’ from 1594 onwards, the book argues that a new level of control over casting was a catalyst for the emergence of a newly distinctive Shakespearean style.

Keywords:   rehearsal, Kemp, hired men, boys, parts, casting, Chamberlain’s men, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Love’s Labour’s Lost

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