This essay meditates critically on the promptbook (or promptscript), as well as other archival documents (dresser’s notes, photographs, fight scripts, rehearsal notes), analyzing their form and function as they reveal traces of actors’ bodies in relation to time and space. The essay’s interest is in articulating a methodology for mapping the roles such material remains play in performance culture. Rather than attempting to reconstruct the (disappeared) performance, it rethinks and positions such “leftovers” not as giving indexical access to a theatrical past and thus bound up with ontology, neither archival nor documentary, but as sites of re-performance. Two especially rich promptscripts—those for Peter Brook’s 1978 Antony and Cleopatra (Royal Shakespeare Company) and Richard Eyre’s 1990 Richard III (National Theatre)—situate this work-inprogress, a kind of performative (re)writing that not only reenacts, but also reimagines, or replays anew, the force of performance processes.


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pp. 373-388
Launched on MUSE
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