Students, Faculty Experience Shakespearean Theater at Blackfriars Playhouse

April 18, 2017 Jennifer Retter

Over spring break, Dr. Jennifer Matisoff and Dr. Jim Casey, assistant professors of English, led students to the American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse, the only re-creation of Shakespeare's indoor theater in existence.

One of few theaters worldwide to apply early modern staging practices, Blackfriars Playhouse preserves traditions of universal lighting, conversational dialogue, and gallant stools to connect the actors and audience. Over the course of two days, faculty and students saw Shakespeare’s Coriolanus and The Merchant of Venice, as well as Emma Whipday’s Shakespeare’s Sister, performed in original staging conditions.

“These practices are more than historical curiosities,” said Dr. Casey. “They offer fresh, vibrant stagings of early modern plays, and [enable] deeper engagement with the world of the theater itself. Students returned with both a keener understanding of the plays and a stronger sense of departmental cohesion and camaraderie.”

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