'A little easy and modern for the times' : a documentary of productions of Ben Jonson's plays by major professional theatre companies in England, 1977-2000
This thesis is a collation and discussion of productions of Ben Jonson's plays in England between 1977 and 2000. It focuses on mainstream theatre productions. Therefore, amateur and Fringe productions, adaptations and productions by small-scale theatre companies are not included. It contains previously unreleased material of interviews with theatre practitioners who have been instrumental in staging the productions covered. Whilst scholarship has concentrated on recent productions of Shakespeares, tudies in Jonsonianp erformanceh ave been neglected.W ith the recent resurgence in popularity of Jonson's texts in the English theatre repertoire, it is now pertinent to assessth e methodsu sed to staget he work of this playwright. This thesis focuses only on the staging of texts presented between the two dates; this does not cover all of Jonson's texts. Contained in two volumes, Part One raises issues of performance, whilst in Part Two productions are considered within chapters on each play. An Afterword (in Volume One) considers the future of production and the action needed to be taken for future progression in performance and performance studies. The Appendix (in Volume One) contains detailed venue information. The thesis is intended as a documented record of productions, in order to stimulate future research into Jonsonian performance methods. By examining recent productions the failures and successeso f the contemporaryt heatre's approacht o Jonsonh ave been noted. This will contribute to an understanding of how Jonson's texts continue to work on stage. The title of this thesis comes from Bartholomew Fair, a play that addressesth e need to assimilatet he presentationo f theatre within contemporary concerns.