Shakespeare's Staging
Troilus and Cressida
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Friday, 22 April 2005 06:18

Troilus and Cressida: Royal Shakespeare Company, August 1976. Director: John Barton; Designer: Chris Dyer; Photographer: Tom Holte. Courtesy AHDS.

STAGING TROILUS AND CRESSIDA

The revision of its 1609 quarto title page to deny any previous public performance suggests that this play from the start had an erratic production record (2.4.25). Its extremely negative view of the figures in Homer's Iliad presents a problem in eliciting audience sympathy and involvement. The celebrated Helen of Troy usually seems merely frivolous, the lover Troilus volatile, and his beloved Cressida fickle (2.4.27, 2.4.28), while Pandarus is cynically decadent. Among the Trojans Hector appears virtuous but fatally inconsistent. As for the Greeks, Ulysses seems most thoughtful and well-meaning, but ultimately ineffective. The skeptical anti-war tone made the play more acceptable in a century of two world wars, and the brutal and vicious behavior of Achilles confirms its anti-militarist attraction. These negative attributes encourage modern critics to be more favorable to the the play, but its popular reception remains guarded. Modern updating of the setting to the Crimean or later wars (6.2.29) often has an enlivening effect. HMR

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Apfelbaum, Roger. Shakespeare's "Troilus and Cressida": Textual Problems and Performance Solutions. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2004.

Beale, Simon. "Thersites in Troilus and Cressida." In Players of Shakespeare 3: Further Essays in Shakespeare Performance by Players with the Royal Shakespeare Company, edited by Russell Jackson and Robert Smallwood, 160-73. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993.

Bernhardt, W. W. "Troilus and Cressida and Dryden's Truth Found Too Late." Shakespeare Quarterly 20 (1969): 129-41.

Beroud, Elizabeth. "Scrutiny of a Mask: A Detailed Account of Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida as Staged and Performed by the RSC at the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, 23 April 1990." Cahiers Elisabéthains 30 (1991): 57-70.

Berry, Ralph. "Troilus and Cressida." In Changing Styles in Shakespeare, 49-65. London: George Allen & Unwin, 1981.

Bevington, David. "Editing Informed by Performance History: The Double Ending of Troilus and Cressida." In Shakespeare: Text and Theater: Essays in Honor of Jay L. Halio, edited by Lois Potter and Arthur F. Kinney, 298-309. Newark: University of Delaware Press; London: Associated University Presses, 1999.

Brantley, Ben. "The Cynical Side of Shakespeare, but With a River View." Review of Troilus and Cressida, directed by Terrence O'Brien, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, Boscobel Restoration, Garrison, NY. New York Times, September 1, 2010.

Cook, Dorothy. "Dryden's Adaptation of Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida." Connecticut Review 7, no. 1 (1973): 66-72.

Elton, William R. "Troilus and Cressida" and the Inns of Court Revels. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2000.

Foakes, R. A. "Stage Images in Troilus and Cressida." In Shakespeare and the Sense of Performance, edited by Marvin and Ruth Thompson, 150-61. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1989.

Flowers, Max, ed. William Shakespeare's "Troilus and Cressida": A Performance Edition for Stage and Study as Satirically Created 1601-09. North Bridgton, ME: Weegar-Pride Book Company, 1980.

Hiken, Arlin J. "Texture in Troilus and Cressida." Theatre Journal 19 (1967): 367-69.

Isherwood, Charles. "A Story So Complicated It Needs Two Playwrights." Review of The Age of Iron [a fusion of Troilus and Cressida and Heywood's Iron Age]. New York Times, November 25, 2009.

Minton, Gretchen E. "'Discharging less than a tenth part of one': Performance Anxiety in Troilus and Cressida." In Shakespeare and the Cultures of Performance, edited by Paul Yachin and Patricia Badir. Burlington VT: Ashgate, 2008.

Muir, Kenneth, ed. Troilus and Cressida. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.

Papp, Joseph. "Directing Troilus and Cressida." In Troilus and Cressida, edited by Bernard Beckerman and Joseph Papp, 23-72. Festival Shakespeare. New York: Macmillan, 1967.

Shurgot, Michael. "Seeing and Believing: Audience Perception and the Character of Cressida in Performance." In Stages of Play: Shakespeare's Theatrical Energies in Elizabethan Performance, 174-98. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1998.

Smith, Denzell S. "Dryden's Purpose in Adapting Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida." Ball State University Forum 10, no. 3 (1969): 49-52.

Smith, Peter J. "Troilus and Cressida (RSC at the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, 1999)." Cahiers Elisabéthains 56 (October 1999): 81-2.

Snider, Eric. "Troilus and Cressida at the Utah Shakespeare Festival." Eric D. Snider: Snide Remarks, July 9, 1999.

Sprigg, Douglas. "Shakespeare's Visual Stagecraft: The Seduction of Cressida." In Shakespeare: The Theatrical Dimension, edited by Philip C. McGuire and David A. Samulelson, 149-63. New York: AMS, 1979.

Stamm, Rudolph. "The Glass of Pandar's Praise: The Word-Scenery, Mirror Passages, and Reported Scenes in Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida." Essays and Studies 17 (1954): 55-77.

Taylor, Gary. "Troilus and Cressida: Bibliography, Performance and Interpretation." Shakespeare Survey I (1982): 99-136.

Troilus and Cressida at Talkin' Broadway.

Tyler, Claire M. "The Text of Cressida and Every Ticklish Reader: Troilus and Cressida, the Greek Camp Scene." Shakespeare Survey 41 (1990): 63-76.

Wood, Peter. "Troilus and Cressida." Review of Troilus and Cressida at the Tobacco Factory, Bristol, 2003. British Theatre Guide.

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