• Find Direction Out: In the Archives of Hamlet

    Tom Cornford (see profile)
    Shakespeare, Theatre history
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    This essay proposes practical engagement with archived materials as a model for the director's creative process, a process which also considers the play as a form of archival record: that the play-text is itself an archive of its own world. That archive, the article suggests, can be supplemented by historical research and interpreted with techniques and approaches gleaned from the archives of performance practice: a parallel, perhaps, to the dizzingly complex material and cultural exchanges out of which Shakespeare's work originally emerged. To support this hypothesis, the article draws upon the author's personal experiences of directing Hamlet using a research-led approach, in which the production was informed by archival material relating to productions of Hamlet directed or planned by Stanislavski, Gordon Craig, Michael Chekov, Meyerhold and Tarkovsky. While considering the ways in which results and decisions might reveal themselves in researching the recorded processes and methods of theatre practitioners in the archive, the article ultimately suggests that material gleaned from conventional historical research of the play must also be supplemented with discoveries made by reading the play as an archive of its own world, and no other.
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    1 year ago
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