SHAKESPEARE’S IMITATION GAME: HOW DO YOU SOLVE A [PROBLEM SET] LIKE KATHERINA? JOHN FREEMAN [Compared to a computer programmer…] No playwright, no stage director, no emperor, however powerful, has ever exercised such absolute authority to arrange a stage or a ﬁ eld of battle and to command such unswervingly dutiful actors or troops. —Joseph Weizenbaum (1976, 115) The playwright is a kind of god in that he writes words for imaginary people which then cause real people (actors) to bring those words and those people to life. —Julian Hilton (1993, 161) Prologue Perhaps Shakespeare’s most programmatic as well as problematic play, The Taming of the Shrew operates as a formal system, set up and “run” as a program with its own special set of “functions” and “scripts” speciﬁ cally designed to process “problem sets” encoded as plots and subplots (literary variants of the computer’s routines and subroutines). In performing these operations, the play extends the systematic parameters of conventional Renaissance comedy in its engagement of the audience in those operations. Traditionally, these parameters restrict interactions to those occurring among the characters, with little or no outreach to the audience. The fourth wall or screen between the representation and the
symploke – University of Nebraska Press
Published: Nov 28, 2018
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