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In this seminal work, Robert Weimann redefines the relationship between writing and performance, or 'playing', in Shakespeare's theatre. Through close reading and careful analysis Weimann offers a reconsideration and redefinition of Elizabethan performance and production practices. The study reviews the most recent methodologies of textual scholarship, the new history of the Elizabethan theatre, performance theory, and film and video interpretation, and offers a new approach to understanding Shakespeare. Weimann examines a range of plays including Hamlet, Troilus and Cressida, Henry V, A Midsummer Night's Dream and Macbeth, among others, as well as other contemporary works. A major part of the study explores the duality between playing and writing: the imaginary world-in-the-play and the visible, audible playing-in-the-world of the playhouse, and Weimann focuses especially on the gap between these two, between the so-called 'pen' and 'voice'.