Conditions of Original Performance II: Answers to Student Questions


When reading The Comedy of Errors, I was very interested in the two sets of twin characters. I know that later in Shakespeare’s career he wrote the fool character specifically to play to the skill set of that actor in his trope. I was wondering if Shakespeare had two sets of twins in the Lord Chamberlain’s Men when he wrote The Comedy of Errors or how those characters would have been cast. Did they do auditions? Did four actors with no blood relations play the twins?

Throughout history there have been myths and superstitions and strange ideas around twins and the connections between them. Were there significant myths and notions of this sort in Shakespeare’s day? If so, how do these influence his writings?

In regards to the performing of Shakespeare’s works (primarily comedies), how much do you think the performing of his play’s have changed since they were first premiered? Do you believe the productions stay relatively true to the source, or do they take more liberties? Or how much has it changed from how it was performed even in the 50’s and 60’s, as opposed to now?


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