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Wooden Actors on the English Renaissance Stage

Wooden Actors on the English Renaissance Stage

Chapter:
(p.195) Seven Wooden Actors on the English Renaissance Stage
Source:
Renaissance Posthumanism
Author(s):
Vin Nardizzi
Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823269556.003.0007

In “Wooden Actors on the English Renaissance Stage,” the post in posthuman refers not to some sense of belatedness or temporal supersession but rather to an elusive figure in the theatrical archive: the wooden actor whose wooden failure to act well creates unexpected resonance with the wooden post in the playhouse. If grandeur of rhetoric is something we associate with Renaissance humanism just as excellence of acting we associate with the charms of Shakespearean stage, what if we assume that woodenness is not a failure but a revelatory occasion? Woodenness reveals not only the constituent elements of the playhouse, to which materiality Renaissance plays often make reference, but also the human as embedded in woods as much as words. The project of “making humans” through excellent oratory and acting was not a practice to be demystified by later posthumanists; rather it was always contradicted from within as from the seeds of a certain humanism grew the “post-humanism” that already rejected a project dedicated to making humans.

Keywords:   human, humanism, posthumanism, rhetoric, Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, theatre, wood, woodenness

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