On Shakespeare

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Allen & Unwin, Oct 1, 2011 - Literary Criticism - 432 pages
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'So I'm sitting here backstage, waiting for my entrance, caked in fake blood and taking part in a play that is brutal, nihilistic and offensive according to all criteria of 'good taste'. And it's thrilling.'

Did Shakespeare really write all those plays? Why do you do Shakespeare in modern dress? How do you prepare a role? What's it like doing a long run? Did he believe in ghosts? Was he a subversive ...?

Every day, after every performance, around the world, theatregoers ask these sorts of questions. And in On Shakespeare, John Bell, actor and director, a man who thinks, breathes and interprets Shakespeare's canon every day of his life, gives his response based on experience and reflection.

After many years of reading, performing and directing Shakespeare, in the UK and in Australia with the Bell Shakespeare Company, John Bell offers us a unique 'backstage pass' to the histories, tragedies, comedies and romances and a memorable insight into the sonnets.

John Bell's passionate relationship with Shakespeare informs and deepens our understanding of the man and his works. On Shakespeare is vivid, accessible and fascinating-a book that confirms Shakespeare's enduring relevance to our lives.

 

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Contents

1 The great Globe
1
2 Starting out
11
3 StratforduponAvon
19
4 Shakespeare himself
34
5 An interview with Robert Greene
58
6 Acting Shakespeare
66
7 Directing Shakespeare
98
8 An interview with Ben Jonson
112
14 A fireside chat with John and Harry
297
15 The sonnets
314
16 Romeo and Juliet
332
17 Troilus and Cressida
341
18 Timon of Athens
349
19 The Romances
356
20 The Bell Shakespeare Company
378
Conclusion
385

9 The Histories
128
Picture section
169
10 The Tragedies
170
11 The Comedies
215
12 Shakespeares books
257
13 The Romans
266
Appendix A What Shakespeares contemporaries said about him
389
Appendix B The sequence of the plays
397
Recommended reading
400
Index
401
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

Actor, director, producer, John Bell is one of Australia's theatrical icons. Founder of the Bell Shakespeare Company, he is Australia's leading authority on interpreting, directing and performing Shakespeare.

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