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Performing Shakespeare's Women : Playing Dead, Hardback Book


Shakespeare's women rarely reach the end of the play alive.

Whether by murder or by suicide, onstage or off, female actors in Shakespeare's works often find themselves 'playing dead.' But what does it mean to 'play dead', particularly for women actors, whose bodies become scrutinized and anatomized by audiences and fellow actors who 'grossly gape on'?

In what ways does playing Shakespeare's women when they are dead emblematize the difficulties of playing them while they are still alive?

Ultimately, what is at stake for the female actor who embodies Shakespeare's women today, dead or alive?

Situated at the intersection of the creative and the critical, Performing Shakespeare's Women: Playing Dead engages performance history, current scholarship and the practical problems facing the female actor of Shakespeare's plays when it comes to 'playing dead' on the contemporary stage and in a post-feminist world.

This book explores the consequences of corpsing Shakespeare's women, considering important ethical questions that matter to practitioners, students and critics of Shakespeare today.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Theatre studies
  • ISBN: 9781350002593



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