The focus of this book falls less on performance and more on how the playtext may be approached from a theatrical viewpoint. In the theatre, the playtext, addressed traditionally to the theatre professional rather than the averagereader, is usually read by the company at an initial stage in the production of a play. The process by which this type of reading "opens" the text differs from a literary reading of the text. The result of such an analysis givesnew insights into the theatrical text and the playwright's coded directions as to how to translate its content from page to stage.
The theoretical premises explored here may be applied as much to a reading of the plays of Calderon's European near-contemporaries as to Calderon and his contemporaries at the birth of the commercial theatre in seventeenth-century Spain: indeed, the book makes frequent reference to Shakespearean playtexts and their bibliography.
ISAAC BENABU is a professor of theatre studies at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.