‘Coriolanus’: Nothing Plebeian About Him

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    • Why has “Coriolanus” never been popular? It’s been mounted on Broadway only once—in 1938. The last time that I reviewed a production in this space was eight years ago. Yet connoisseurs need no reminding of the immense stature of Shakespeare’s most explicitly political play. T.S. Eliot ranked “Coriolanus” above “Hamlet,” calling it “Shakespeare’s most assured artistic success.” A man I know who used to work for one of America’s best-known politicians claims that it’s one of only two pieces of literary art that tells the whole truth about politics (the other, he says, is “All the King’s Men”). And if you should be lucky enough to see Shakespeare Theatre Company’s new production, directed by David Muse and featuring a towering performance by Patrick Page, you’ll come away wondering why it doesn’t get done regularly by every drama company in America.
    • Enter Coriolanus (Mr. Page), a paragon of the military virtues who more or less single-handedly defeats the enemy. Physically fearless and noble without limit, he has only one flaw: He knows that he is a great man, and refuses to pretend otherwise. Indifferent to the praise of “the common people,” he will not “flatter them for their love,”
    • He understands that “Coriolanus” is not about any particular politician, or any particular war: Its real subject is pride. Is there room in a democracy for an aristocrat like Coriolanus who refuses to play the popularity game? Or is it his duty to don the hypocrite’s mask in order to serve the greater good?
    • You’ll be paralyzed by the hideous, red-faced howl of horror that he wrenches from his depths when his terrified mother (Diane d’Aquila) begs him not to renounce his family and his country.

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The Hub Review: A post-mortem on Pericles: lost and found at sea

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    • “But anyway, back to Pericles, Prince of Tyre (the play’s full title) – which intrigues because it is so important in the canon while being a strange jumble of a play. Much of it probably isn’t by Shakespeare, in fact; these days the latest software tells us that the first two acts (or more) may be by one George Wilkins (who published his own account of the legend prior to the play’s quarto edition; it didn’t make it into the First Folio).”
    • “Now to many observers, the mixed (or contested) authorship of the play somehow makes it of lesser artistic interest than the rest of the canon. But to my mind, the reverse is actually true. Indeed, Pericles fascinates me precisely because, like Timon of Athens, it seems half-finished, so viewing it is like viewing a cross-section cut out of the Bard’s work process.”
    • “But let’s back up a bit and ponder the whole Shakespearean authorship question. No, not that authorship question – the whole Earl-of-Oxford boondoggle is an utter waste of time. I mean the question of what Shakespearean “authorship” actually means – for I certainly don’t think Shakespeare was an author in the Romantic sense of being the “onlie begetter” of his plays, the lone genius who forged our conscience in the smithy of his soul. Not that educated people quite believe that; even schoolboys know the Bard borrowed his plots – but few seem to grasp what this means, that it makes Shakespeare something of a critic of his own raw material, a re-shaper and re-caster rather than, well, an “original,” for lack of a better word.  Indeed, you could argue (to paraphrase a famous quip about musicals) that a Shakespearean text isn’t written – it’s re-written.”
    • “But why did George Wilkins’ Prince of Tyre capture the imagination of the Bard?  Part of its appeal perhaps lay in its timing: Shakespeare began working on Pericles just as the birth of a granddaughter no doubt inspired a sense of rapprochement with his semi-abandoned wife and family.  But as Celia comments in As You Like It, “There is more in it.” I have little doubt that as Shakespeare surveyed the “rough cut” of Pericles he began to perceive in it an amazing coincidence (rather like the many in the play itself): its stripped-down, cartoonish tropes paralleled and even extended many of the deep themes that had been moving beneath the surface of his own oeuvre.  Storms and shipwrecks, identities lost and found, families broken and healed, societies rejuvenated; twins and doubles and hints of magic; he had been trading in these (in more sophisticated form) since The Comedy of Errors, that is for his entire artistic life.”
    • “Even more artistic wobbles I’m afraid dominated the first two “Wilkins” acts. The opening presentation of incest (Pericles discovers his intended bride has already been bedded by her father) had little threatening force, and director Allyn Burrows played the ensuing pursuit of his hero largely for laughs – as many a misguided production does, even though curious stage directions such as “Enter Pericles, wet” clearly indicate that rebirth is the business at hand.  Real evil is afoot in the action, too (as well as genuine good), but all this seemed lost in broader-than-broad antics… “

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Boston man’s life righted by Shakespeare | Boston Herald

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    • “It came in the form of a high school play and the discovery that Othello was black and, like Stroud, struggled with race and identity. Stroud auditioned and got the role. He dived into it, taking the script home and going over it again and again. There were words he didn’t get, meanings he couldn’t comprehend. But it still spoke to him.

      An acting coach helped him after school. “We just kept doing it over and over,” said Stroud. “I was yelling. And then I stopped the rehearsals, and I said ‘Yo! I love this!'” ”

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‘Perhaps, Pericles’ deft take on alleged Shakespeare play – Cleveland Jewish News: Arts

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Four actors in search of Shakespeare is the nub of “Perhaps, Pericles,” a deconstruction of “Pericles,” a play whose authorship remains a mystery.

Scholars have attributed the first two acts to George Wilkins, a mediocre dramatist and the Bard’s contemporary, and the last three to William Shakespeare, but the true extent of their collaboration remains unknown.


Festival celebrates Shakespeare as part of London 2012

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    • Half of the school children across the globe are taught Shakespeare, according to a recent British Council research. His plays are translated and staged in over 80 languages, and countless movie adaptations continue to inspire people around the world.

      The World Shakespeare Festival, celebrating the Bard and his work, will be part of the London 2012 Festival, a global extravaganza tying in with the upcoming Summer Olympics in London, celebrating culture through film, theatre, music, fashion, visual arts and more. The festival kicked off last month, coinciding with both Shakespeare’s birthday and his death anniversary.The Festival, produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company and brought together with 60 major UK and international arts organisations, will be the biggest celebration of Shakespeare. Running until November, over one million tickets are on sale for almost 70 productions, supporting events and exhibitions around the UK in London, Shakespeare’s hometown Stratford-upon-Avon, Newcastle/Gateshead, Birmingham, Wales and Scotland, as well as online events.

    • The Festival will also provide a chance for amateur theatre across the UK, with 260 groups taking part in Open Stages, working with the Royal Shakespeare Company and nine partner theatres around the UK, to share skills and expertise to stage their own Shakespeare-inspired productions. Open Stages will culminate in a national celebration of amateur theatre in July in Stratford-upon-Avon.
    • You don’t have to be in the UK to be part of the Festival. The digital platform, My Shakespeare, will create a global digital conversation, creating a view of Shakespeare through a twenty-first century lens. The site will include guest bloggers, a unique online search of Shakespeare’s plays, a chance to create your own visualisation and new artists’ commissions released onto the site

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Midsummer Monsieur: Episode 3 with Earl Showerman | The Shakespeare Underground

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    • Could A Midsummer Night’s Dream contain allegorical references satirizing Queen Elizabeth’s long & melodramatic courtship with Francois Hercule Valois, the Duc of Alençon?

      In this podcast, Dr. Earl Showerman takes us on a visit to the court of Queen Elizabeth I in the 1570s. Statesmen, nobles, and perhaps even Elizabeth herself are divided over whether or not the Virgin Queen should marry the younger brother of the King of France. Dramatics ensue onstage and off, in a surprisingly strange and significant episode of English history. And what’s most surprising is that this colorful, contentious time may be preserved in all its absurdity and otherworldliness in one of Shakespeare’s best known plays.

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Shakespeare’s “co-author” named by Oxford scholars

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    • All’s Well That Ends Well has another author as well as William Shakespeare, according to research from Oxford University academics.
    • Professor Laurie Maguire says the latest literary research shows groups of writers working together on plays. 

      “The picture that’s emerging is of much more collaboration,” said Prof Maguire. 

      “We need to think of it more as a film studio with teams of writers.”

    • The question of the authorship of Shakespeare’s plays has been a continued source of speculation and conspiracy. 

      Prof Maguire says that there is no serious scholarship which challenges the idea that Shakespeare wrote the plays attributed to him.

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