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Revising Shakespeare : demystifying the meaning construction of Shakespeare’s dramatic text for the pedagogic and performative engagement of the modern viewer

Kocsis, Andrew (2016) Revising Shakespeare : demystifying the meaning construction of Shakespeare’s dramatic text for the pedagogic and performative engagement of the modern viewer. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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Abstract

For the twenty-first-century reader of William Shakespeare’s plays, meaning construction is an active process. As part of the literary transmission, the reader is encouraged to decode the text in order to develop a deeper comprehension of, and improve familiarity with, the written text. However, a significant change occurs when the reader becomes the viewer of Shakespeare’s performed work. For such a viewer, the communication of meaning is accessible through the observation of a dramatised version of Shakespeare’s text, which may be difficult to decode owing to the immediacy of transmission that obtains in a performance. The focus of this thesis is, therefore, to support and improve the viewer’s meaning construction of the dramatic text.

The transmission of the dramatic text can create barriers to the construction of meaning for a number of reasons: unfamiliar language, a director’s adaptations or even an actor’s interpretation of a character. When this happens, the viewer can become a passive participant. By investigating the barriers to comprehending Shakespeare’s dramatic text, this thesis discusses the need to modify Shakespeare’s language, expand director/actor information, and improve the connection with the viewer.

This thesis discusses the need to create a performative text, a mediated version of the literary and dramatic texts combined. The facilitation of the performative text, by a dramatic mediator, must occur to enable the active viewer. The introduction of a performative text improving the dramatic transmission of the text encourages the active meaning construction of the viewer.

Revising Shakespeare takes a practice-led approach to the research, exploring the creative process and outcomes of four Shakespearean adaptations, and discussing the findings from rehearsals to production. This exegesis outlines the possibilities of revising Shakespeare’s work, identifying choices that encourage a shift in the viewer’s comprehension, ultimately enabling the active participation of the viewer through an explicit mediation of the performative text.

Publication Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Arts
Supervisor: de Reuck, Jennifer and Pascoe, Robin
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/32323
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