The Modernist Approach
The prevalence of Shakespeare performances (and the fact that dramatists like George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) sat on the Theatre Committee) emphasized the modernist qualities of Shakespeare.
WE NEGLECTED CHARACTERIZATION AND PLOT, LAYING STRESS ON SHAKESPEARE’S POETRY AND THE DEEP SYMBOLISM OF HIS THEMES. THE CRITIC L.C. KNIGHTS, FOR INSTANCE, INSISTED THAT … THE ONLY PROFITABLE APPROACH TO SHAKESPEARE IS A CONSIDERATION OF HIS PLAYS AS DRAMATIC POEMS … WHICH WE READ AS WE SHOULD READ ANY OTHER POEM.
This encouraged close reading and discouraged placing too much emphasis on context.
THE PROTEAN SHAKESPEARE HAS AN ENDURING ATTRACTION BECAUSE HIS WORKS CAN BE CREATED A NEW WITH EACH PRODUCTION.
Shakespeare’s indeterminacy is entirely in tune with RSC practice — indeed, they have often banned living playwrights from rehearsals of their own works.