foakings

Plays have a double life, in the mind as read, and on the stage as acted; reading a play and seeing it acted are two different but equally valid and valuable experiences. Shakespeare’s fellow-actors provided in the First Folio of his works a text for readers, and all later editors have had readers in mind; even acting versions have first to be read. There has been a fashion in criticism for claiming that the ‘real play is the performance, not the text,’ or that a play is a 'communal construct,’ and 'exists in relationship to scripts we will never have, to a series of revisions and collaborations that start as soon as there is a Shakespearean text.’ It seems to me rather that the 'real play’ is as much the text we read, and perhaps act out in the mind, as the performance we watch; and scripts are what directors and actors make for the stage out of the reading text provided for them by editors… The life a play has in the mind may be very different from the life it has on the stage.
—  R. A. Foakes, introduction to King Lear, Arden Shakespeare Third Series