You know those moments when a character seems to step off the page or outside the scene they’re in and know an awful lot more than they should? There are technical names for it, like metatheatre and breaking the fourth wall, but they are routinely startling. They creep up on you. And they are part of what makes unravelling Shakespeare about as complex as getting to the bottom of a strand of DNA. Here are five of the best.
1. Fabian in Twelfth Night:
‘If this were played upon a stage now, I could condemn it as an improbable fiction.’ (III.iv)