British Academy Shakespeare Lecture (Audio)May 29, 2011
Mind the Gap – Making Meaning in the Theatre
The 2011 British Academy Shakespeare Lecture by Professor Laurie Maguire (University of Oxford). Introduced and chaired by Sir Brian Vickers (Institute of English Studies)
Drama, in Martin Meisel’s neat definition, is the ‘management of audience expectation’. This lecture will explore some of the ways in which Shakespeare’s plays cue and manage audience expectation, response, and understanding. Laurie Maguire will look at how audiences process plot and emotions, how they interpret character and language, and how Shakespeare and his contemporaries train audiences to ‘read’ plays. A key component of the lecture will be the changing status of character criticism in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Considering Shakespeare’s characters as if they are real people with motivations has long been outlawed in academic circles; yet character remains a consistent point of entry for audiences. One aim of the lecture will be to effect a rapprochement between these two constituencies.