'The two hours' traffic of our stage': time for Shakespeare

Wed 21 May 2014, 19:00 - 20:15

Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, Shakespeare's Globe, London


When the Prologue to Romeo and Juliet announces that the performance will last two hours, what does Shakespeare mean? Professor Tiffany Stern asks how time was understood in an age of sandglasses, sundials and inaccurate clockwork. Considering the sound and the look of the instruments of time, Professor Stern asks about Shakespeare’s works ranging from the practical to the editorial and to the analytical. How long did Shakespeare’s plays take to perform? Why are Shakespearean characters associated with ways of measuring time? What textual cruxes in Shakespeare’s plays relate to timepieces? And what did terms like an hour, a minute, or a second actually convey to a Shakespearean audience?

Professor Tiffany Stern
Professor of Early Modern Drama, University of Oxford

About the Speaker:
Tiffany Stern
 is Professor of Early Modern Drama at the University of Oxford. Her books include Rehearsal from Shakespeare to Sheridan (2000), Making Shakespeare (2004), Shakespeare in Parts (2007) and Documents of Performance in Early Modern England (2009). She has edited a number of plays and written over forty articles and chapters on 16th, 17th and 18th century literature.

This lecture was repeated on Monday 24 November 2014, at 5.30pm, in the Rupert Beckett Lecture Theatre, Michael Sadler Arts Building, University of Leeds.

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