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Shakespeare in Parts$
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Simon Palfrey and Tiffany Stern

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199272051

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199272051.001.0001

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Waiting and Suddenness: The Part in Time

Waiting and Suddenness: The Part in Time

(p.120) 7 Waiting and Suddenness: The Part in Time
Shakespeare in Parts

Simon Palfrey

Tiffany Stern

Oxford University Press

It might be objected here and elsewhere that a ‘surprise’ can never work the same way twice; that if an actor is kept waiting for his cue unconscionably long, or if it comes suddenly in the middle of his script, then the second time he plays the scene he will know exactly what is coming: expecting it, he assimilates and neuters the frisson of surprise or recognition. This chapter suggests, however, that this shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the kind of acting required by Shakespeare. ‘Surprise’ will not simply be overtaken or overcome in rehearsal, or in second or subsequent performances.

Keywords:   Shakespeare, play, surprise, cue, scene

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