About the Company:
If Shakespeare’s plays are the only works of Renaissance drama you know, then you know little about either Renaissance drama or Shakespeare. No writer stands in isolation—least of all Shakespeare, who collaborated often and vied equally with his fellow sixteenth-/seventeenth-century playwrights for the favor of rowdy London audiences (to be sure, several rivals surpassed him in popularity during his life and in the decades following his death). So, how can you tell one from the other without experiencing the comparative traits and distinguishing features of each? We exist to afford just such an occasion.
The Resurgens Theatre Company produces the plays of Shakespeare’s contemporaries (Marlowe, Jonson, Middleton, Fletcher, etc.), as well as those of the Bard, through an enhanced prosodic approach to verse-speaking. We frequently employ “original practices” as a means to augment our performative efforts; however, we do not attempt to recreate an “authentic” Renaissance experience on a twenty-first-century stage. This is neither possible nor, from our perspective, desirable. Instead, we seek to explore the complex, aesthetically charged dialogue between Elizabethan/Jacobean verse dramas and their poetic/rhetorical trans-historical resonances—to revitalize “scores for lost voices,” we would say. So, rather than offer a museum piece constructed solely to satisfy academic curiosity, we look to engender a lively artistic engagement with the present moment—a present moment filtered through the production modes of the past. And for our shows, those practices may include any or all of the following elements: audience interaction, judicious editing, minimalist staging, organic music, original pronunciation, Renaissance costuming, same-sex casting, thematic doubling, uninterrupted performances, and universal lighting.
Much of our work builds upon Dr. Brent Griffin’s current research in versification, which implements newly developed editorial techniques in an attempt to rediscover an early modern player’s perception of lineation and accentual phrasing (in simplest terms, we endeavor to create poetic cadences closer to what Shakespeare’s audiences would’ve experienced). And by mounting rarely produced Renaissance plays, we avoid any preconceived notions that may surround those sounds and their embodiment (including any Bloomian anxieties of influence regarding production history), which affords us a freshness of style seldom associated with texts of the era. Indeed, the vast majority of our non-Shakespearean verse dramas have never received commercial treatment in Georgia (in most cases, they’ve never been professionally performed anywhere in the South). And they’ve certainly never been played in the fashion that we’re advocating—on either side of the Atlantic.
In addition to touring and hosting a biennial academic conference on the plays of Shakespeare’s contemporaries, Resurgens now operates the state’s only outdoor “original practices” event—the North Georgia Shakespeare Festival in Mary Alice Park on Lake Lanier. For more detailed information about us, take a look at the scholarly reviews in Shakespeare Bulletin (31.1, 31.3, 32.4, 34.4), Marlowe Society of America Newsletter (33.2), Reviewing Shakespeare (Nov. 2016, Apr. 2018, Feb. 2019), The Ben Jonson Journal (24.1), and Theatre Journal (71.3).
About the Artistic Director:
Dr. Brent Griffin is the former director of the English Literature Program at Florida State University’s London Study Centre and managing editor of the Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies. A past member of the research staff at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, he remains involved with experimental work regarding the techniques of verse-speaking in early modern plays, and is a recent recipient of the Ben Jonson Discoveries Award. He has performed in Shakespeare companies throughout the region, holds a Ph.D. in Renaissance drama and performance studies from FSU, and serves as the founder and chair of Resurgens’ biennial academic conference on the verse dramas of Shakespeare’s contemporaries.
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