Stratford-upon-Avon Archives

August 9, 2008

Taming Of The Shrew


I saw the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of The Taming Of The Shrew in Stratford tonight.

The RSC is in a bit of a transition right now, as its primary theater complex is being overhauled and plays are being staged in a temporary construct called the Courtyard Theatre, which mirrors the layout of the main stage.

The play itself is uncomfortable to watch, as it clearly ends on a misogynistic note, at least by contemporary standards. The acting and production values were fine, but the play itself seemed lacking in characters one could root for.

August 15, 2009

An Afternoon With The RSC


I saw a performance of The Winter's Tale for the second time in fourteen days, this time at The Courtyard Theatre--the Royal Shakespeare Company's temporary home as the main theatre complex is being rebuilt. Seeing the play for the second time, I came to appreciate a lot of its nuances, especially the character of Paulina. The staging of the bear--an important element in evaluating any performance of this play--worked for me, though it was very different from what they did at the Old Vic. The first half of the play--set in Sicilia--was stronger than the Bohemia scenes, but overall the production succeeded because of some very strong acting, particularly in the parts of Leontes and Paulina.

June 19, 2010

A Masterful Lear


Greg Hicks is a spectacular Shakespearean actor. I saw his impressive turn as Leontes in The Winter's Tale last summer here at the RSC and this afternoon I watched him command the Courtyard Theatre as King Lear. Though a youngish Lear--whose age the text places at "fourscore and upward"--the fifty-something Hicks managed to convey an astonishing emotional range in this tragedy. Kathryn Hunter made the Fool work for me better than ever before, too. And the actors portraying Goneral, Regan, and Edgar were similarly top-notch. The nuances of the acting in this performance brought out elements of the play--the Shakespeare work I probably know better than any other--that I had never appreciated before.

Queen Of Egypt


The second half of today's RSC double feature was Antony and Cleopatra, featuring more or less the same cast as this afternoon's Lear. I was stunned to discover at the interval that it was Kathryn Hunter--whose Fool captivated me earlier in the day--who was playing Cleopatra. Her Queen of Egypt is very different from the usual portrayal of this character--the accent and almost raspy vocal shadings gave the role more of a exotic Earth Kitt-type vibe. While the diminutive actor doesn't convey sex appeal the way most actors who play this role do, there was no denying her chemistry with Darrell D'Silva's Marc Antony.

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