If we want to examine how a play changes as it moves through time and space, what concepts are good for thinking with? The current models provided by Shakespeare performance studies, I want to suggest, have often demonstrated the persistence of what Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari might call “tree logic": a theatrical heritage or genealogical system descending from a primary unity. This essay investigates the productivity of alternative concepts of theatrical change on two levels. First, it uses brief case studies to ask what models Shakespearean plays employ to understand how traits, behaviors, texts, and bodies change and travel. Second, it asks how those play concepts can help us think about how to track Shakespeare plays as they changed and traveled in England in later centuries.
Lauren Eriks is a PhD candidate in English Language and Literature at University of Michigan. She works on drama and performance, especially in the fields of Shakespeare performance studies and performance historiography. Her current project analyzes fictional techniques for representing performance in order to shine new light on the discursive strategies employed by historical spectators, whose first-person accounts of theatrical viewing constitute one of the primary archival sources for performance researchers.
This talk is part of a series presented by University of Michigan graduate students affiliated with the inter-institutional Early Modern Conversions initiative.