Shakespeare and the Force of Modern Performance asks a central theoretical question in the study of drama: What is the relationship between the dramatic text and the meanings of performance? W.B. Worthen argues that the text cannot govern the force of its performance. Instead, the text becomes significant only as embodied in the changing conventions of its performance. Worthen explores this understanding of dramatic performativity by interrogating several contemporary sites of Shakespeare production. The book includes detailed discussions of recent films and stage productions, and sets Shakespeare performance alongside other works of contemporary drama and theatre.