HOW AM I GOING TO DO IT?

Monday Magazine's Shakespeare aficionado talks producing the Legend's works

YOUYeah, you’re the director.  So how are you doing the play?

ME – I am going to do it very well.

YOU – But where are you going to set the play to get a new angle on the story?  People can’t take Shakespeare straight.  We need it relevant for now.

ME – Not important.

YOU – Explain!

MEI have seen lots of  Shakespeare plays up-dated so they are more related  to our own times.  Okay, but-

YOU – I once saw “Julius Caesar” set in Mussolini’s Italy!  Brutus and Cassius wore red armbands to show their leftist resistance to fascism.

ME – There is the first mistake.  Brutus and Cassius were actually cranky  aristocrats who resented Caesar’s populist land reforms and free corn doles to the working plebs of Rome.

YOU – I did not know that.

ME – You like the show?

YOU – It sucked!

ME – Why?

YOU – The verse thing.  It was all babble after the first two lines!

ME – The director’s second mistake.  Don’t get me wrong.  I have done plays in different times and places.  I produced and directed “Macbeth” setting it in Nazi Germany with Hitler as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth as Eva Braun.  It was a critical and commercial hit.

YOU – Buuut?

ME – I never let my “brilliant” re-set distract me from the main thrust of the original script.  I worked the actors hard on the sense of the verse and respected Old Will’s original intentions.  He had his message and I had mine.

YOU – I guess the comedies lend themselves better to modern times?

ME – They often do.  Comedy or tragedy it is vital not to direct the new setting all the while ignoring the demands of the original play.  It happens a lot.  You snub Olde Will?  He will turn hard and come back to bite you!

YOU – What’s the worst you’ve seen?

MEI was in a “Twelfth Night” production set in the Swing Era of Britain.  I had to secretly coach the actors in verse styles.  Their speeches were so slurred and confused they needed sub-titles.  The setting totally bombed.  It failed to dredge up any comic gold.  We got through it, just.

YOU – So, you are not against setting Shakespeare plays in different times?

ME – No.  I am doing “King Lear” in modern dress this summer.  But…

YOU – You are keeping to Shakespeare’s original intention?

ME – God, I hope so!

YOU – How about Donald Trump as Falstaff!

ME – Is there a copyright on it?

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

The City of Victoria is hoping to ring in the summer by celebrating local art and offering some distanced, live music to surprise people in parks, plazas and other public spaces. (Photo courtesy of the City of Victoria)
Live, pop-up concerts and local art being showcased in Victoria this summer

People will see surprise serenades at 16 locations throughout the summer

Pride Fest 2021
Get ready for Pride Fest!

The 2021 Victoria Pride Week Festival will include online events to connect and give visibility to Greater Victoria’s LGBTQ2S+ communities.

Kiss Me Kosher
Bring On the Laughter

Victoria International Jewish Film Festival plans feel-good event

JazzFest
Hot Days and Cool Music

The Victoria International JazzFest heats up its online venue

Gabriola Island artist Sheila Norgate is promoting the Digital Innovation Group’s art impact survey. (File photo)
Vancouver Island artists get behind regional arts impact study

Artists urged to use their stature to help put arts and culture super-region on the map

Most Read