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September 7, 2010
What a piece of work is a Masterpuppet

William Shakespeare's plays were written for the Elizabethan theater, a very different setting from what we consider theater today.

The stage was completely open to view and usually unadorned with props and sets. The actors did not play realistic versions of the characters--they spoke in verse, employed stylized gestures and oratory, possibly even held scripts with cues as they performed. Female characters were portrayed by boys. Performers occasionally wore labels to provide clues as to their identity, such as 'This is a hare.' There was no attempt to present reality on the Elizabethan stage--it was an expressly allegorical experience.

Elizabethan actors, in fact, were known as puppets. They were considered performing objects there to deliver the playwright's material, and it was up to the audience to look beyond the limited physical trappings and discern the layered meanings of the plot and dialogue.

In this regard it has been suggested that audiences for puppet theater may be nearer in their way of thinking to the theater audiences in Elizabethan London, able to see through the surface illusion of the presentation and perceive the symbolism and hidden meaning of the action.

So it would appear that Masterpuppet Theatre offers the transformative experience of Shakespearean performance to actors and audience alike. ( : { >


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