Abstract

In September 2018, the Folger Theatre had the unprecedented opportunity to mount William Davenant’s multimedia redaction of Macbeth, a script that had not been staged since the eighteenth century. The resulting production, while musically adept, never quite escaped the onus of Bardbiz. To offset the perceived deficits of the script, the director, a specialist in Shakespeare productions, recast Macbeth as a play-within-a-play, a “one-time performance staged as a fundraising event for Bedlam.” The invented frame, however, created far more problems than it solved, resulting in discontinuous performance styles oftentimes not aligning with the interpolated story. An additional emphasis on pop horror proved a further distraction and failed to illuminate Davenant’s version of the story. Arguably, directors from a (post)modern theatrical background should oversee future productions of Restoration Shakespeare, being less likely to see these plays as bastardized versions of the original.

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