Poner en escena The History of Cardenio

  • Terri Bourus


The story of Cardenio began in a book. That story contained, as Roger Chartier recognizes, “a dramatic plot full of secret meetings, soliloquies of cadenced verses and scenes of a spectacular nature” (Chartier 44). But unlike Cervantes, a director must poner en escena, put onstage, that narrative. Directors place people and objects in an artificial space, in spatial relationships to one another and to spectators. Long before I became a scholar or director, I was an actor. But before I became an actor, I danced, and dance is all about the movement of bodies through space (figure 13.1). I think of actors as dancers who speak. In Shakespeare and Fletcher, the actors are poets too, dancers who speak words that dance, words that move rhythmically, like music.


Loeb Classical Library Final Scene Stage Direction Young Actor Globe Reading 
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  1. 3.
    Hall, Shakespeare’s Advice to the Players (New York: Theatre Communications Group, 2003), 207.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    On the anti-Aristotelian emphasis on particulars rather than generalities, see Elizabeth Spiller, “Shakespeare and the Making of Early Modern Science: Resituating Prospero’s Art,” South Central Review, 26.1 (2009): 24–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    See Thomas Howard Ridley, Jr., From the Avenue — A Memoir (CreateSpace, 2012),Google Scholar
  4. and C. Nickerson Bolden, Indiana Avenue: Black Entertainment Boulevard (AuthorHouse, 2009).Google Scholar
  5. 11.
    See Andrew J. Power, “Late Shakespeare, late Players,” in Late Shakespeare, 1608–1613, ed. Rory Loughnane and Andrew J. Power (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 172–86.Google Scholar
  6. 14.
    George Bernard Shaw, John Bull’s Other Island, and Samuel Beckett, Krapp’s Last Tape, in Modern and Contemporary Irish Drama, ed. John P. Harrington, second edition (New York: W. W. Norton, 2009), 40, 247.Google Scholar
  7. 15.
    Tyrone Guthrie famously foregrounded “the costumed and choreographed bodies of the performers … upon the scenery-less platform” of the thrust stages he championed: see Robert Shaughnessy, “Tyrone Guthrie,” in The Routledge Companion to Directors’ Shakespeare, ed. John Russell Brown (New York: Routledge, 2008), 136.Google Scholar

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© Terri Bourus and Gary Taylor 2013

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  • Terri Bourus

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