THE BRAVE NEW WORLD OF THE AMERICAN SHAKESPEARE CENTER: ORIGINAL PRACTICES AND THE ACTORS' RENAISSANCE SEASON IN STAUNTON, VA
Townsend, Emily Catherine
Hildy, Franklin J
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The American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, VA prides itself on a history of producing the plays of William Shakespeare and his contemporaries in a manner that borrows certain staging conditions of the Early Modern period. With the inception of the yearly Actors' Renaissance Season in 2005, the ASC has taken a significant step further into the world of original staging conditions by allowing its company of veteran actors to produce the plays of the season without directors or designers in only a matter of days. While the Renaissance Season is built on a scholarly foundation and must carefully juggle claims of producing "authentic" Shakespeare, it is ultimately striving towards its own interpretation of authenticity. This thesis asks what the contribution of the Actors' Renaissance Season is to the broader conversation about Original Practices Shakespearean performance techniques and examines its unique combination of OP preparatory and performance style.