A unique collection of Shakespeare’s every reflection on the theatre, offering fascinating insights into the man, his work, and the world of the Jacobean stage.
Shakespeare was a man of the theatre to his core, so it is no surprise that he repeatedly contemplated the nuts and bolts of his craft in his plays and poems.
Shakespeare scholar Nick de Somogyi here draws together all the cherishable set pieces – including ‘All the world’s a stage,’ Hamlet’s encounters with the Players, and Bottom’s amateur theatricals – along with many other oblique but no less revealing glances, and further insights into theatre practice by Shakespeare’s contemporaries and rivals.
De Somogyi’s informed commentary takes us through the entire process of a play’s theatrical production, from its casting and auditions, via rehearsals, costumes, and props, to its premiere and audience reception.
Shakespeare on Theatre eavesdrops on the urgently whispered noises-off in the ‘tiring-house’ and inhales the heady aroma of the Globe’s first audiences.
‘Refreshing… a lucid and fascinating overview’
— Times Literary Supplement
‘This remarkable little book… incredibly well-informed… nothing, it seems, is left out’
‘This book is more than a collection of extended quotations. Somogyi’s detailed, linking analysis and commentary turns it into quite an original book about Shakespeare’s words, working method and contemporary context’
— The Stage
‘Shakespeare on Theatre gives [de Somogyi] the opportunity to teach us about Shakespeare’s experience of drama itself, and his thoughts about it, a major implicit subject in the plays, and to bring together many scattered references. He does this with real passion for the plays as both text and performance… He brilliantly links passages from the plays with commentary and quotes wonderful passages (quite unknown to me before) from other Jacobean writers.
De Somogyi’s lexical relish and delightfully original wit are obvious throughout; he makes those startling, even absurd, but always apt comparisons to modern life and to the cinema that are often to be enjoyed in his introductions to the Shakespeare Folio editions.’