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date: 19 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the relationship between actor and scenography in twentieth and twenty-first century productions of Hamlet and King Lear, particularly the common theatrical trope of realist acting on abstract stage sets. It argues that whilst in some productions the notion of tragic hero as common man reduces the plays to a set of psychological problems, in others, contrasts and tensions between acting style and scenography or theatre architecture have created what the author calls a ‘politics of intimacy’. These productions have made it possible for detailed, realist acting on non-naturalistic stage sets to pose potent questions about the social and political meanings of human relations in the plays. They have allowed for an audience experience that involves both psychological intimacy and ideological critique.

Keywords: Hamlet, King Lear, scenography, realism, epic, intimacy

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