Describe and discuss Shakespeare's theater conventions. 

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The "language" of the stage is a complex of communications that vary through time -- for example, the "fourth wall" idea of pre-modern times. In Shakespeare's time, playwrights counted on "the willing suspension of disbelief" (actually a Romantic phrase) to tell the stories of many worlds and cultures.  Among the most distinctive (besides the obvious convention of using male actors for female roles) theater conventions that the audience accepted were the verbal devices of soliloquy and aside.  Physically, the "stage surface" (at the Globe, for example) was accepted as a closed room (additionally, a balcony was considered any raised part of a house or landscape).  These and many other visual metaphorical "shortcuts" (shared by the playwright, the actors, and the spectators) made Venice, Troy, the forests, etc. available for Shakespeare and his contemporaries to place their dramas in any setting.  There were variations in these conventions when the play productions changed venues, such as command performances for the Queen in her home, or performances in tavern courtyards.     

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