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The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby Essay

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In the following essay excerpt, Innes examines a contemporary staging of Nicholas Nickleby by David Edgar to identify challenges that the play poses for modern theater, and Edgar's solutions to those challenges.

Perhaps the main reason for the immense popularity of Nicholas Nickleby as dramatic material is the theatrical nature of one extended section, in which Nicholas joins up with the Crummles's acting troupe. Originally this was a satirical attack on a well-known actor-manager and his much promoted daughter, who—incredibly—performed Shylock at the incongruous age of 8 just a year before Dickens embarked on the novel. Yet the exaggerated display of Victorian coarse acting makes wonderful farce. It is also a form of metatheatre. Heightening the artifice of stage performance by self-parody has been a traditional comic technique. But this has gained a particular contemporary relevance: exposing the mechanics of stage-business by presenting the whole...

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This section contains 1,759 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby Study Guide
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The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.