Mandated Masquerade: Disability, Metatheater, and Audience Complicity in The Fair Maid of the Exchange and What You Will

  • Lindsey Row-Heyveld
Part of the Literary Disability Studies book series (LIDIST)


This chapter explores collaborative spectatorship in the counterfeit-disability tradition. The self-consciously theatrical tradition requires playgoers to suspend their disbelief and, simultaneously, remain critically attentive to theatrical mechanics in order for the drama to work. By looking at the metatheatrical contexts for dissembling disability in John Marston’s What You Will (c. 1601) and the anonymous The Fair Maid of the Exchange (1607), Row-Heyveld argues that the tradition deliberately exposes its theatrical work to break down divisions between playgoer, playmaker, and player. In doing so, counterfeit-disability plays reveal audience complicity in creating performative disability. Yet, the tradition also discloses the costs of such skepticism, showing how requiring performativity from disability incriminates audiences in that performance.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lindsey Row-Heyveld
    • 1
  1. 1.Luther CollegeDecorahUSA

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