Summer 1985 • Vol. VII No. 3 1985 Ohio Shakespeare ConferenceJuly 1, 1985 |

Parallel Practices, or the Un-Necessary Difference

Nearly fifteen years ago, at the interval of a performance of Peter Brook's A Midsummer Night's Dream, I overheard a spectator (who happened to be a scholar-critic) say, "Of course, it's marvelous theater, but it simply isn't Shakespeare's play." Admittedly he spoke of a landmark production that, at the time and for some years thereafter, divided Shakespeareans as well as the general public into polar camps; since then, the dialogue over whether Brook's interpretation was or was not Shakespeare's play has moved toward more level ground. Nevertheless, that spectator's comment introduces the powerfully felt schism between critical and theatrical interpretation. In a recent essay, Harry Berger prescribes the territory: "The Shakespearean intention constituted by the reader and the interpreted text will differ from the one constituted by the spectator and the performed text" (my emphasis).1 For Berger, performance limits the "true nature" of the text, concealing its verbal constructs an

Already have an account? Login

Join KR for even more to read.

Register for a free account to read five free pieces a month from our current issue and digital archive.
Register for Free and Read This Piece

Or become a subscriber today and get complete, immediate access to our digital archives at every subscription level.

Read More


Your free registration with Kenyon review incudes access to exclusive content, early access to program registration, and more.


With your support, we’ll continue 
to cultivate talent and publish extraordinary literature from diverse voices around the world.