VI. Where to go from here
When researching a specific theatrical production, newspaper and magazine
reviews are the most immediately obtainable primary resource. Some of
the older, pre-photography newspapers have elaborate drawings of contemporary
productions. Any newspaper with the word "illustrated" in its
mast-head might be a treasure trove.
For film and television, most libraries now have at least a small
collection of videotapes. The major international Shakespeare collections
are the US Library of Congress, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the RSC,
the Birmingham Shakespeare Institute, and the British National Film &
Television Archive (see McKernan and Terris). In Berkeley, the Moffitt Media
Resources Center has quite a bit, as does the Berkeley Public Library. Nearby,
U. C. Santa Cruz has a collection distinct from but overlapping with U.C.
Berkeley's. If you are in the mood for a really long drive, the main
branch of the Santa Monica Public Library has a truly surprising Shakespeare
collection. Actors' biographies and autobiographies can be useful also.
If you know that Olivier famously played Iago, then surprising bits of information
can crop up in biographies. Just remember that actors are not most qualified
to evaluate their own work.
Acting Editions. Many famous actors of bygone days put out their
own editions of the plays. These can illuminate not only theatrical choices
but also general changes in attitude towards the plays from era to era.
They can be particularly useful as supplements for what reviews don't say
or as correctives for actors' autobiographical accounts.
Promptbooks. These are the director's or prompter's copies of a script
for a particular production, complete with lots of notes about who enters
from where and when the exit. These are often closer to the production process
than either acting editions or reviews, but they are often illegible and
do not necessarily bear an exact relationship to what the production eventually
looked like. For one example, see Mullin, above, under Macbeth (Section
IV). For further information, see Charles H. Shattuck's The Shakespeare
promptbooks; a descriptive catalogue (Urbana, University of Illinois
Press, 1965), which describes the prompt-book holdings of the Folger Shakespeare
Advanced Study. This involves travel, and takes any project out
of the "beginner's" category. The three best known collections
The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D.C.
The Shakespeare Center : run by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
in Stratford Upon Avon.
The Shakespeare Institute at the University of Birmingham.
Finally, a large number of helpful Shakespeareans are members of the internet
community. The SHAKESPEARE ELECTRONIC CONFERENCE, run by the indefatigable
Hardy M. Cook, is a remarkable resource. To subscribe to this list, send
back to table of contents.