I’d not heard of “unrehearsed Shakespeare” when JC Kibbey mentioned it to me over the weekend, but I have to say that I think I get it, and I think I like it.
Let me see if I can do it justice. Start with a group of actors who have at least some degree of training in Shakespeare – how to read a First Folio, paying attention to punctuation cues and whatever stage directions might be at hand.
Now, hand them cue scripts – where they see only their lines, not the entire play. I don’t know how much time they get to learn their part, or if we’re literally talking about a performance where the cast is still “on book”. But, regardless….action! The cast and the audience alike get to watch the play unfold, not knowing what’s coming next.
This is supposed to mimic original practice, according to proponents of the style. Costume and props are minimal, and the audience is encouraged to be just as … lively? … as they would have been in Shakespeare’s day. Audience participation and interaction is encouraged.
Sounds like a neat idea. I have to admit that, as an audience member, I’d never even consider sitting down to a Shakespeare play without having read it. So the “cast and audience watch the play unfold together” thing would be lost on me. But, obviously, original audiences did not often have that luxury.
Thoughts? Surely the emphasis alone on First Folio text, and using punctuation as your director, makes this an effort worthy of some respect.