This unique study investigates the ways in which the staging convention of direct address - talking to the audience - can construct dramatic subjectivity, or selfhood, in Shakespeare plays. By focusing specifically on the relationship between performer and audience, Talking to the Audience examines what happens when the audience are in the presence of a dramatic figure who knows they are there. It is a book concerned with theatrical illusion; with the pleasures and disturbances of seeing 'characters' produced in the moment of performance. Through analysis of contemporary productions by a wide range of companies throughout the world, Talking to the Audience serves to demonstrate how the study of recent performance helps us to understand both Shakespeare's cultural moment and our own, whilst never losing sight of the theatrical pleasures and challenges offered by the plays. Its exploration of how theory and practice can inform each other make this essential reading for all those studying Shakespeare in either a literary or theatrical context.