Directed The Magnetic Lady, by Ben Jonson.

ME White

    Research output: Non-textual formPerformance


    Role of researcher: Martin White, originator/director Chief Collaborators: N/A Participants: students of Department of Drama. Venue: Wickham Theatre, Department of Drama, University of Bristol. Dates: December 13-16 2000; 4 performances. Other outcomes: journal article; seminar paper; references in publications by other scholars including new Cambridge edition; ISGC web site. Documentation available: programme, production file, stills, video tape, reports, reviews, etc. Funding: N/A Research Production, performed at the Wickham Theatre, Bristol, 13-16 December, 2000. RESEARCH CONTEXT Section A See entry under The Magnetic Lady Section B Jonson’s The Magnetic Lady was his penultimate play. Performed first in 1632 and again the following year, it then disappeared from the stage for reasons that are not entirely clear. It was revived on Radio 3 (in an adaptation by Peter Barnes) and by students in Reading in 1996. Jonson frequently employs metadramatic and methatheatrical devices. These are frequently contained within the action of the play, but in some instances are outside it, in the form of Inductions which dramatise the theatre audience itself. These strategies are found in his indoor, Blackfriars, plays rather than outdoor, for obvious reasons given the proximity of the real audience in that playhouse. It is noticeable that, even within the comparatively limited range of repertoire of Jonson’s plays in the modern theatre, those plays that provide this ‘dramatised audience’ are rarely, or never, performed – possibly because the audience-stage relationship of many theatres is incompatible with the demands of Jonson’s texts. The Magnetic Lady was chosen as it presents Jonson’s dramatised audience in arguably its most developed form. The production aimed to show, therefore, how Jonson’s theatrical devices, so closely linked to the theatre practice of his own time, could be presented in ways accessible to a modern audience. This production set the play in a metatheatrical framework from the outset, and concentrated on the language of stage and audience to maintain the distinction – lost if the text is left in its original form. The nature of Jonson’s presentation of ‘character’ (in the Jacobean sense), other strategies such as doubling, and the sense that he creates a particular ‘language’ for the play were also part of the exploration.
    Translated title of the contributionThe Magnetic Lady, by Ben Jonson.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2000

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