Shameless plug: NRN 2nd Annual Symposium

As many of you know, I’m part of a stellar team known as the New Researchers’ Network. We’re a sub-committee of the Society for Theatre Research, and over the past two years, we’ve pioneered the live streaming of the STR lecture series, kick-started a website redevelopment, and revitalised the STR’s social media presence. We’re also responsible for a dynamic programme of study days, theatre visits, and symposia.

I’m really, really ridiculously proud of the work the NRN Committee has been doing in the last year. I’m especially proud to say that our second Annual Symposium has attracted twenty-five papers (which we’ve squeezed into one jam-packed day!) and seventy delegates so far. I’m extra, super-duper proud of the fact that we’ll be live streaming the entire event for anyone, anywhere in the world, who wants to spend the day talking about theatrical archives and documentation with us. Because we’re all about being inclusive at the NRN.

There will be a link to the live stream soon, but for now, save the date: 19 June 2015, from 10:00am. For details of the programme, see below and check out our website. And if you want to register to attend in person, better get moving–there are only five spaces left! See you at the Shard…

The Society for Theatre Research

New Researchers’ Network

Second Annual Symposium

“Dumb objects, spoken for”? On Performance Archives and Documentation

Friday 19th June 2015

The Shard

17th Floor, Warwick Business School

32 London Bridge Street, London, SE1 9SG

The Society for Theatre Research’s (STR) New Researchers’ Network (NRN) is pleased to announce their second annual symposium, which will centre on the theme of Archives and Documentation . In recent years scholars have taken greater interest in the documentation of live performance and the construction and curation of archives. The foundations of these ideas can be found in Foucault’s A rcheology of Knowledge (1969) and Derrida’s Archive Fever (1995), as well as more recent texts by Carolyn Steedman (D ust , 2001) and Helen Freshwater (‘The Allure of the Archive,’ 2003). Matthew Reason (‘Archive or Memory,’ 2003) suggests that a more nuanced understanding of human memory may offer ways to further explore the relationship between the live performance and its documents, and argues that an honest assessment of the archive must overtly perform the fact that it consists of ‘dumb objects not allowed to speak for themselves, but spoken for’.

These discussions have been recurring themes at the NRN’s events this year, in part due to the development of new technologies which simplify both the archiving and accessing of material. As new researchers, we are at the forefront of the developing field of new and exciting archival technologies, and whilst these new ways of archiving can bring exciting discoveries and increased accessibility, they also bring new challenges and difficulties. For example, digitisation is an expensive and timeconsuming process, and as a result, which archives are catalogued, searchable, and accessible online is an increasingly political matter.

Other questions, raised at an NRN study day at the Live Art Development Agency, relate to the relationship between live performance and the ‘mad fragmentations’ (Steedman 2001) which form the collections of theatre archives. What does it mean to intentionally document a performance? How much can we really learn about past performance through the ephemera (flyers, promptscripts, photographs) which somehow, against all odds, now possess call numbers and item descriptions in our archives? How do those who curate theatre collections decide which of these scraps of paper merit preservation? What does it mean for those of us researching past performance that these processes of selection remain largely opaque?

In a recent talk as part of the STR’s Annual Lecture Series, Prof. Heike Roms acknowledged the trend for theatre and performance historians to abandon the archive in favour of more performative methods of research. While Jacky Bratton has used walking as a research tool in her book The Making of the West End Stage , others have used reenactment or reconstruction as part of their methodology to answer questions about theatre and performance. As a result, Roms asked ‘what is at stake in approaching historical evidence as event?’.

Join us for a keynote from Matthew Reason and subsequent panels, installations and a roundtable discussion addressing the following topics: historical evidence as event; archives in the digital age and the future of the archive; the archivist as curator; the benefits and problems of legalising and copyrighting art work; the performativity of the archive; the detritus of performance; beyond the archive: Walking, Mapping and ReEnacting.

REGISTER FOR THE EVENT HERE

PROVISIONAL PROGRAMME

9:30-9:50 – Registration Opens

9:50-10:00 – Opening Remarks

The NRN Committee

10:00-11:00 – Keynote

Professor Matthew Reason (York St. John University)

Archive, Place, Family: The Resurrection of Joyce Reason

11:05-12:20 – Panels 1

a) Methodology: Beyond the Archive

Joanna Bucknall (University of Portsmouth)

Raising the ruins: (re)enactment and ‘remembering’ as a mode of documentation

Naomi Paxton (University of Manchester)

Standing where she stood: is it possible to glimpse the past in the present?

Emma Meehan (Coventry University)

Revisiting Lunar Parables: The Archives of Dublin Contemporary Dance Theatre

b) Performing the Archive

Allan Taylor (Falmouth University)

From presence to performativity: how the still image ‘does’

Steven Paige (Plymouth University)

The Ties That Bind: Reusing Online Archival as an Interdisciplinary Artist

Jindeok Park (Royal Central School of Speech and Drama)

‘Archival Choreography’: exploring the transformative impact of the past on the present improvisation

12:20-1:35 – Lunch

Film / Presentation

Susan Croft, Unfinished Histories

1:35-2:50 – Panels 2

a) The Distorted Archive

Conor Clarke (Plymouth University)

Afterliveness

Nikolas Wakefield (Royal Holloway, University of London)

The Secret: or how throwing it away makes it appear

Samantha Manzur (Universidad Catolica de Chile)

The Performativity of The Archive of Invisible Dances: The Emergence of a Disappeared Dance through The Trace of Grammatology

b) Archiving Companies

Catherine Trenchfield (Royal Holloway, University of London)

The Kneehigh Archive & The Asylum – archive and ‘repertoire’

Ella Hawkins (University of Warwick)

From physical to digital: curating an archive for Dash Arts

Sally Barnden (King’s College, London)

Liveness, photography and the RSC’s Dreams, 1954-77

2:50-3:05 – Break

3:10-4:25 – Panels 3

a) Digital Archives

Claire Swyzen (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)

Tim Etchells’ A Broadcast/Looping Pieces: of memory and making sense of data

Leah Dungay (Plymouth University)

‘That B**** Ruined My Walk’: Exploring Protest through an Online Media Archive

Becca Savory (University of Exeter/NIAS)

Popular performance online: the archive is the medium is the message

b) Selections

Łukasz Borowiec (Wydział Nauk Humanistycznych)

Performances of English Drama in Poland 1945-2000: An Attempt at a Critical Overview of Archive Research Potential

Monika Meilutytė (Arts and Culture Magazine ‘Kultūros barai’)

Ethics of Representing Archival Materials in Exposition and Performance: The Case of Lithuania

Rosanna Traina (University of Reading)

Transparency: Liberating the past, empowering the researcher

4:30-5:15 – Panels 4

a) Documenting Cities

Nela Milic (Goldsmiths, University of London/Middlesex University London)

Materialising Site

Beatrice Jarvis

Title TBC

b) Recordings & Notations

Rebecca Stancliffe (Coventry University)

The ontological status of the score in live performance and in the documentation and dissemination of choreographic practice

Poppy Corbett (Royal Holloway, University of London)

Archiving the voice: Alecky Blythe and the Recorded Delivery technique.

5:20-6:20 – Roundtable

Hannah Manktelow (University of Nottingham/The British Library)

Reclaiming Regional Theatre History with the British Library Playbill Collection

Helen Gush (Queen Mary, University of London/Victoria & Albert Museum)

‘Active things, speaking’: Reimagining archival material for a Theatre and Performance context

Barbara Roland (ULB)

Speaking for the reality: How to make present the absence

6:20-6:30 – Closing Remarks

The NRN Committee

All Day

Janine Cowell (University of Bristol/University of Exeter)

‘Someday just began’: Meeting, making and mounting memories in the field — an interactive exhibition

CFP: NRN Symposium on Archives and Documentation

Friends, readers, researchers! Lend me your abstracts!

There’s just over a week left to submit abstracts for the second annual STR New Researchers’ Network Symposium. This year, based on conversations arising at our other events, the committee has chosen the theme of Performance Archives and Documentation.

In case you need some extra incentive to submit, we’ve secured Professor Matthew Reason as our keynote speaker, and we’re hosting it at THE SHARD. Yes, that Shard. It promises to be an excellent event, and we hope that you can be a part of it! Abstracts are due by Friday 20 March. All details below and at http://strnrn.org/cfp-2nd-annual-symposium-on-archives-and-documentation/ I can’t wait to read your abstracts!

“Dumb objects, spoken for”? On Performance Archives and Documentation

Friday 19th June 2015

The Shard

17th Floor, Warwick Business School

32 London Bridge Street, London, SE1 9SG

The Society for Theatre Research’s (STR) New Researchers’ Network (NRN) is pleased to announce their second annual symposium, which will centre on the theme of Archives and Documentation. The symposium will also feature a keynote address by Prof. Matthew Reason (York St John University).

In recent years scholars have taken greater interest in the documentation of live performance and the construction and curation of archives. The foundations of these ideas can be found in Foucault’s Archeology of Knowledge (1969) and Derrida’s Archive Fever(1995), as well as more recent texts by Carolyn Steedman (Dust, 2001) and Helen Freshwater (‘The Allure of the Archive,’ 2003). Matthew Reason (‘Archive or Memory,’ 2003) suggests that a more nuanced understanding of human memory may offer ways to further explore the relationship between the live performance and its documents, and argues that an honest assessment of the archive must overtly perform the fact that it consists of ‘dumb objects not allowed to speak for themselves, but spoken for’.

These discussions have been recurring themes at the NRN’s events this year, in part due to the development of new technologies which simplify both the archiving and accessing of material. As new researchers, we are at the forefront of the developing field of new and exciting archival technologies, and whilst these new ways of archiving can bring exciting discoveries and increased accessibility, they also bring new challenges and difficulties. For example, digitisation is an expensive and time-consuming process, and as a result, which archives are catalogued, searchable, and accessible online is an increasingly political matter.

Other questions, raised at an NRN study day at the Live Art Development Agency, relate to the relationship between live performance and the ‘mad fragmentations’ (Steedman 2001) which form the collections of theatre archives. What does it mean to intentionally document a performance? How much can we really learn about past performance through the ephemera (flyers, prompt-scripts, photographs) which somehow, against all odds, now possess call numbers and item descriptions in our archives? How do those who curate theatre collections decide which of these scraps of paper merit preservation? What does it mean for those of us researching past performance that these processes of selection remain largely opaque?

In a recent talk as part of the STR’s Annual Lecture Series, Prof. Heike Roms acknowledged the trend for theatre and performance historians to abandon the archive in favour of more performative methods of research. While Jacky Bratton has used walking as a research tool in her book The Making of the West End Stage, others have used reenactment or reconstruction as part of their methodology to answer questions about theatre and performance. As a result, Roms asked ‘what is at stake in approaching historical evidence as event?’.

We invite proposals for papers that may consider, but are not limited to, the following topics:

  • Historical evidence as event

  • Archives in the digital age and the future of the archive

  • The archivist as curator

  • The benefits and problems of legalising and copyrighting art work

  • The performativity of the archive

  • The detritus of performance

  • Beyond the archive: Walking, Mapping and Re-Enacting

The NRN Committee welcomes proposals for papers of up to fifteen minutes from new scholars, postgraduates, and early career researchers, on any aspect of the conference theme, broadly interpreted.  Abstracts of up to 250 words should be submitted tonrn@str.org.uk by 20th March 2015. Successful applicants will be contacted by 20th April. The papers will be arranged into panel groups sharing a common theme; although we anticipate receiving a majority of proposals as single papers, we will also accept proposals for three-paper curated panels.

For queries, please contact Claire Read and Nora Williams on behalf of the NRN Committee:nrn@str.org.uk

For more details on the NRN, see www.strnrn.org

and follow us on social media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NewResearchersNetwork

Twitter: @nrn_str and @TheSTR

Research Musings: Moving Forward

I know, I know…it’s been a long time since my last post, but I promise I have been writing every day nonetheless! In fact, I’m now knee-deep in my very first case study: a look at the Young Vic’s two productions of The Changeling in 2012. 

I say ‘two productions’ because, despite the fact that technically the second is a revival of the first, there are major differences of style between the two. Sure, both are modern dress productions that keep the script more-or-less intact, and yes, both come from the same director, designer, and overall concept, and yeah, both employ the same awesome device of food substituting for bodily fluids. But there was a difference of technique between them that makes me hesitate to count them as the same production. 

This difference, I believe, may come from the change in casting. The two Beatrice-Joannas for example, have very different training and backgrounds, and I could see this reflected in their acting styles. (Warning: what follows is in no way academic. Still working on how to make this work in an actual chapter of an actual dissertation.) Basically, Jessica Raine had a drama and cultural studies degree from the University of Western England in Bristol and taught English as a foreign language in Asia for several years before she went to RADA, and Sinead Matthews went straight on to RADA from her A-levels. Now. I have no wish to fall into the trap of categorising actors based solely on their training; I believe that professional experience shapes a performer’s style at least as much as training does. But I also believe that the distinct differences in approach between Raine and Matthews might be traced back to their training. Raine’s performance seemed to me to be driven by text, while Matthew’s was driven by motivation. In other words, the former took a more pre-Stanislavski approach, and the latter took a more post-Stanislavski approach. The pacing between the two could not have been more different: Raine clipped through her lines, rarely pausing and vibrating at a very high frequency throughout (to steal a favourite phrase of the wonderful Peter Van Wart). Matthews, on the other hand, took her time about things, showing the audience the character’s thought processes and motivations and, though no less intense, slowed the production’s pace in comparison to Raine. This difference is also reflected in the respective running times of the two productions: the first incarnation, opening in January 2012, ran at  110 minutes; the second, opening in November 2012, ran almost twenty minutes longer. Although the time difference is partly attributable to added ‘bits’ of action throughout, I believe that the leading ladies’ respective paces were also a contributing factor. 

But why the difference? As I said above, I suspect that it may come back to training. With a university drama and cultural studies degree, Raine would likely have studied Shakespeare from a literary perspective as well as from a practical perspective. In addition to practical experience acting Shakespeare, she would probably have spent considerable time working the text at table and considering ways to break it down on the page. Undoubtedly, these textual tips will translate into performance (see Abigail Rokison’s amazing book Shakespearean Verse Speaking), but that’s not quite the same thing as learning Shakespeare in drama school. A quick perusal through the first-year acting students’ blogs on the RADA website confirms my suspicions: the emphasis is on Stanislavski and his students. I clocked exercises from Stan himself, Sanford Meisner, and Uta Hagen being described in just a quick perusal. In fact, the intro page to the BA in Acting website cites ‘Stanislavski-based rehearsal exercises’ as the very first item on their list of training techniques you will learn as a RADA student. Certainly ‘classical text’ techniques will be taught, but that baseline of ‘Stanislavski-based rehearsal’ is always in the background. Now, this is all highly conjectural and perhaps unfair and certainly politically incorrect, but we might reasonably draw the following conclusion from this information: if you studied Shakespeare in a university drama programme, you are likely to approach the text in a very different way than someone who studied Shakespeare in a drama school acting programme. 

Why is this relevant to a production of a play by Middleton and Rowley? Because, as I’ve whined before, very often ‘Shakespeare’ stands in for ‘any play written between 1580 and 1642’. So hand any actor who studied drama anywhere in the English-speaking world a play by Middleton, and he or she will most likely approach it in the same way that he or she was taught to approach Shakespeare. 

This is not make a value judgement on either approach, but rather to call attention to the ways in a change in casting can have a massive impact on a production. it’s almost like a weird kind of performance experiment: take the same play, the same design, the same director, and the same concept, but switch out the cast and see what happens. In this case, the first production read as distinctly more ‘Jacobean’ and the second read as distinctly more ‘modern’ (loaded terms, I know!). 

This change wasn’t restricted to the two leading ladies. There were numerous moments throughout the second production which read having come from rehearsal exercises straight out of the Meisner or Hagen handbooks. For example, in the first production, the play just began. As in the script, the cast entered, the music cut, and Kobna Holdbrook-Smith’s Alsemero began speaking his first monologue. In the second production, much more was made of Alsemero’s internal struggle at the beginning, with Harry Hadden-Patton attempting various times to pray beside or near Matthew’s Beatrice-Joanna before finally giving up and launching into his speech. This is textbook ‘natural’ acting, in which motivation for speaking is of utmost importance. ‘Don’t speak unless it improves upon silence’ is a mantra often given to actors-in-training under this style. In this case, the audience watches Hadden-Patton’s Alsemero approach the object of his affection, turn back, decide to stay in the chapel near her, attempt to pray in several different ways, and then finally give in to the distraction of his lady fair’s presence and deliver his speech, which begins ‘Twas in the temple that I first beheld her, and now again the same. What omen yet follows of that?’. The speech expresses Alsemero’s uncertainty about falling for Beatrice: he spends most of it convincing himself that he should stay in Alicante. ‘Why should my hopes or fate be timorous?’, he asks. In the first production, Hodlbrook-Smith relied mostly upon the text and the ensuing exchange with Jasperino to communicate Alsemero’s internal battle between passion and reason. In the second, Hadden-Patton communicates that battle physically, via his attempts at prayer, before beginning the speech. 

This stylistic change could also be seen the two De Flores(es?). Here the relationship between the two productions becomes more interesting: in each case, the actor play De Flores seems to have adopted a style opposite to the actors playing Beatrice-Joanna. So in the first production, Raine’s high-frequency carriage was contrasted by the slower, more methodical approach of Daniel Cerqueira; in the second production, Matthew’s more contemplative Beatrice-Joanna was contrasted by the rather excitable De Flores of Zubin Varla. In other words, Raine and Varla seemed to be operating at roughly the same pitch, with Cerqueira and Matthews similarly matched up in terms of pacing. And now my theory about training falls apart a little bit; or, rather, has to be re-examined. In the first production, I was struck in particular by the scene in which De Flores kills Alonzo (Henry Lloyd-Hughes in this case). The script indicates that De Flores, having hid a rapier ‘in the act time’, stabs Alonzo in the back and kills him without much of a struggle from the victim. In the Young Vic production, however, Alonzo fought back, resulting in a food-filled battle of strength between the two characters. It ended with De Flores drowning Alonzo in the punch bowl and kicked off the food-as-blood visual metaphor that would run throughout the rest of the production (apropos, since this is the first time blood is shed in the play). I loved the active energy of this scene, as well as the clever use of wedding feast items–and the bit of black comedy that ensued when Vermandero (Howard Ward) entered a few scenes later to pour himself a drink from the murder weapon. It was as creative a fight scene as I have ever seen, and it also served as the perfect microcosm for the balance of reality and fantasy running throughout the production. In the second production, a version of this scene was repeated, with some significant changes. First, Alex Lowe’s Alonzo did not die of being drowned in the punch bowl–although Varla’s De Flores attempted this tactic. Instead, Lowe ran off stage, followed by Varla, and the audience heard a sick thud. Secondly, Varla employed some techniques in this scene that seemed to me to come from a Meisner training background. For example, in the course of the fight, Varla as De Flores managed to get Lowe as Alonzo pinned to the banqueting table. Searching for something to stop his shouts for help, Varla grabbed a banana and tried to shove it into his mouth (phallic, much?) whilst shouting ‘I must silence you! I must silence you!’. Anyone who has studied Meisner technique will recognise the exercise in which each actor speaks aloud the character’s motivation during the course of the scene, usually phrased as ‘I want…’ or ‘I need…’. I don’t know whether this kind of exercise was actually being employed here, but I was struck by the similarity. And this is why I say that my theory about training has to be revisited. I cannot find much about Daniel Cerqueira on Google (will have to do a broader search), so it’s difficult to comment on the effect his training may have had on his portrayal of De Flores; Zubin Varla, on the other hand, was trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and has a career that is balanced between musical theatre and drama. Having been trained to act Shakespeare by someone who attended Guildhall, I can say with reasonable certainty that Varla probably had training in that area which would resemble a hybrid of the typical university and drama school approaches: a balance between striaght text work and more modern technique. In fact, on the Guildhall’s website, it says that one of the goals of the Acting programme is to train actors who are ‘able to move with confidence between classical and modern theatre’. So there you have it. Research in drama is never as black-and-white as one thinks it’s going to be, is it? 

All of this is a long way of saying that I’m working toward ways of incorporating what I know about theatre as a practitioner into a highly academic piece of writing, and sometimes the balance eludes me. As with these two productions of The Changeling, I find that any given piece of writing might skew in one direction or another. I’m hoping that by working through this first case study, I’ll be able to test various ways of achieving that balance in my writing. 

Research Musings: Dramaturgy is difficult

Today was a classic example of my English literature brain clashing with my drama brain in an epic battle for dominance. I’m supposed to be writing a short essay for my next supervision meeting on the dramaturgical structure of The Changeling. Dramaturgy, by nature, involves using a play’s construction to make comments about how it might present in performance or, in the case of a particular production, commenting on the performance text as related to the scripted text. It’s therefore rather difficult to avoid the slippery slope that leads to close reading the text without attention to the performative possibilities it offers. 

This happened to me today: there I was, merrily writing about editorial differences in scene assignments and lineation, and I got to over 2000 words before I realised that I had yet to say anything at all about how this might apply to a performance of the play. In fact, I hadn’t even considered how it might apply. 

Fortunately, I didn’t have to ditch everything I’d written–I just had to assume a twentieth or twenty-first century, cast, creative team, and audience in order to make comments on the overarching structure of the play relevant to performance: actors working from cue scripts and without a director probably weren’t concerned about or even aware of the fact that the turning point, a crucial scene for De Flores and Beatrice-Joanna, falls smack in the centre of the play, for example. 

Hopefully it all comes together…wish me luck! 

Research Musings: “Reading Around”

I know that I’m at the phase of my doctoral work when I’m supposed to be “reading around”–getting to know my field from every conceivable angle and reading everything I can get my hands on that might even vaguely be a little bit related to my ever-changing topic. The thing is, every time I read something new, I wonder whether I should be including it into my dissertation. 

For example, today I re-read Women Beware Women as part of my ongoing effort to become familiar with most of Middleton’s major works (Rowley’s are on order from the British Library, which is apparently the only library that actually has any of them). As my research continues, I’m tending more and more to gravitate toward late twentieth and early twenty-first-century productions–basically 1946 and later–and so I’m not totally sure what I’m accomplishing by reading these other plays besides completeness. (Not that completeness is undesirable). And yet, reading Women Beware Women today, I wondered whether that play should be included in my overall topic. After all, it gets performed about as often as The Changeling, and it gets talked about quite a lot in most of the critical writings available on Middleton. True, the choice to include Women would skew my research in Middleton’s favour (over Rowley), but I’m not really focusing on authorship. At least, I don’t want to focus on authorship, despite the fact that I seem to be talking a lot about authors lately, particularly other playwrights in relation to Shakespeare. 

Are you confused yet? Because I certainly am.  

Research Musings: Cutting Text

Daily writing exercise number two comes to you courtesy of another Thomas Postlewait quotation, this time about the significance something can have by virtue of its absence. This comes from the third chapter of his Introduction to Theatre Historiography, in which Postlewait examines the various components that contribute to the reconstruction of an historical event. He notes that, when seeking the distinctive features of a particular event, ‘We can even argue that things that do not happen, such as Sherlock Holmes’ dog that did not bark, can be perceived as contributing aspects of an event. In other words, the perception of absence (e.g., of something missing) fills the void with meaning: the lack of signification becomes a locus of significance’ (111).

To me, this idea of significance in absence screamed to be applied to the way in which any given play is cut for performance. Margaret Jane Kidnie examines this very thing in Shakespeare and the Problem of Adaptation, looking at the controversial cuts made by Mathhew Warchus to his 1997 production of Hamlet for the RSC. These cuts were so contested in the press, she argues, because of the play’s revered canonical status. She quotes Warchus downplaying his cuts, saying that ‘in a previous RSC season he cut one thousand lines from Jonson’s Devil Is An Ass and “absolutely nobody noticed”‘. She goes on to use another example from the RSC: Gregory Doran’s 2003 production of All’s Well That Ends Well. Kidnie notes that Doran ‘cut an entire scene from the text of All’s Well That Ends Well without attracting any of the controversy caused by Warchus’s decisions to cut from Hamlet the opening scene on the battlements’ (35). Her point is that plays which the (critical) audience is less familiar with are less likely to fall prey to accusations of butchery when the text is substantially cut.

In the case of The Changeling, substantial cuts to its text were apparently commonplace and generally accepted as beneficial to the play during the mid-twentieth century. Reviews of productions that cut the subplot almost uniformly praise the decision, claiming that its content is inferior. One reviewer for The Times  in 1960 went so far as to title his review of the BBC Third Programme radio version ‘A Case to be Grateful for Cuts’ and to assert that the subplot is ‘so crude in both conception and execution’ that the viewers, purists and all, should be beholden to the BBC for sparing them ‘a mixture of boredom and nausea’. For reviewers, the absent scenes in The Changeling apparently have (or at least had) the opposite effect to absent scenes in Hamlet. In either case, the scenes are significant to the theatrical event by virtue of the fact that they’re not being performed. And despite apparent critical acceptance of cutting The Changeling’s subplot, I would argue that this kind of cut substantially alters the play in ways at least as significant as those generated by cutting the opening scene of Hamlet.

Trevor Nunn said once that the way a director cuts the text is his version of the play, implying that a particular director’s vision can be encapsulated in his decisions regarding cutting (quoted in Kidnie). If this is the case, might it be productive to pursue a line of inquiry that looks specifically at the ways in which The Changeling’s text has been cut for performance during its lifetime?