Childhood and Futurity in Contemporary Performance of Shakespeare
My thesis will explore the point at which the representation of childhood intersects with the embodied performance of the child, and the anxieties reflected therein. Through a dialogic analysis of text and performance examples, I am considering the ambivalent portrayal of childhood as an emblem of futurity across a range of Shakespeare’s plays and the different ways in which productions have exploited or smoothed over textual ambiguities. My research includes analysis of children as sites for adults’ shifting and conflicted fantasies of a recuperated past; symbols of a yet-to-be-realised utopian future; metaphors for sovereignty, lineage, legitimacy, and vulnerability; and dramatic devices to foreground a theme or mark a peripateia. I am concentrating primarily on modern stage and filmed productions of Shakespeare and the way in which the child in performance impacts on the play’s meaning for a contemporary audience.