Playing Bit Parts in Shakespeare
Routledge – 2002 – 296 pages
Playing Bit Parts in Shakespeare is a unique survey of the small supporting roles - such as foils, feeds, attendants and messengers - that feature in Shakespeare's plays. Exploring such issues as how bit players should conduct themselves within a scene, and how blank verse or prose may be spoken to bring out the complexities of character-definition, Playing Bit Parts in Shakespeare brings a wealth of insights to the dynamic of scenic construction in Shakespeare's dramaturgy.
M.M. Mahood explores the different functions of minimal characters, from clearing the stage to epitomizing the overall effect of the comedy or tragedy, and looks at how they can extend the audience's knowledge of the social world of the play. She goes on to describe the entire corpus of minimal roles in a selection of six plays:
* Richard III
* The Tempest
* King Lear
* Antony & Cleopatra
* Measure for Measure
* Julius Caesar
This new edition comes enhanced with a new Appendix, 'Who Says What', especially designed to aid directors in making decisions about the speaking parts of the minimal characters. It also comes complete with an index of characters (including line references) as well as a detailed general index.
An invaluable aid for directors and actors in the rehearsal room, this perceptive and informative volume is equally of interest to students studying and writing about Shakespeare's plays.
'A stunningly exhaustive family tree of ('bit parts'), Folio origins, and a comprehensive history to boot.' - Sunday Times
'The reader has an excellent opportunity to rethink the plays, as Mahood discovers silent reproach, witty counterpoint, prods to emotion and argument in the briefest appearances.' - Plays International, October 1998