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At last! A magazine with all the Will in the world

SHAKESPEARE Issue 5

Golden Virginia

Join us on a trip to the American Shakespeare Center

Off with their heads!

Shakespeare and the Tower of London

Muse of Fire Two men. One epic journey. Giles and Dan make the ultimate Shakespeare documentary!


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Read Not Dead/Rarely Played Damon and Pithias

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Setting the Scene ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore

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Setting the Scene ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore

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The Youths That Thunder

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Shakespeare Untold Titus Andronicus

Shakespeare and his contemporaries returned time and again to the central importance of friendship, a complex relationship that encompassed kinship, romance, eroticism and devotion beyond death. Our Friendship season explores the theme through !"#$%&'(%)"#$ staged readings, family events and scholarly talks.

DECember 2

Setting the Scene ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore

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A Concert for Winter

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Shakespeare Untold Romeo & Juliet

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Setting the Scene The Knight of the Burning Pestle

january 17

Voice Studio

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Shakespeare Untold A Midsummer Night’s Dream

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Setting the Scene The Changeling

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Voice Studio

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Voice Studio

The season continues until April 2015. See website for full details.

#ShakespeareandFriendship


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Welcome

Welcome to Issue 5 of Shakespeare Magazine

This momentous year of 2014 draws to a close, and with it my first nine months as a full-time Shakespeare journalist. It’s already been quite an education, but then, that’s exactly the point. I started the magazine so I could learn about Shakespeare and take others along with me for the ride. So far, the plan is working like a dream.

Photo: David Hammonds

I can think of no finer cover stars to round off our first year than Giles and Dan, whose wonderful Muse of Fire documentary has been reaping new Shakespeare converts across the globe. They’ve interviewed everyone who is anyone in their amazing Shakespearean quest. Now it’s their turn to answer our questions... Also this month, I had the great pleasure of hosting Shakespeare Magazine drinks with some of our contributors in Bristol and London. It was a chance for me to personally thank them for their excellent work this year, and to look forward to further Shakespeare shenanigans in 2015 (including, I hope, at least one Shakespeare Magazine live event). It just remains for me to thank Paul McIntyre, our estimable Art Editor, without whom this enterprise would be “but a walking shadow...” Enjoy your magazine, and Season’s Greetings to you all.

Pat Reid, Founder & Editor

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At last! A magazine with all the Will in the world

SHAKESPEARE Issue 5

Golden Virginia

Join us on a trip to the American Shakespeare Center

Off with their heads!

Shakespeare and the Tower of London

Muse of Fire Two men. One epic journey. Giles and Dan make the ultimate Shakespeare documentary!

Contents

Shakespeare Magazine Issue Five September 2014 Founder & Editor Pat Reid Art Editor Paul McIntyre Staff Writers Brooke Thomas (UK) Mary Finch (US) Writers Zoe Bramley Lucy Corley Chief Photographer Piper Williams Photographers Michael Bailey Chuck G. Barnes Anne-Marie Bickerton Farrows Creative Alex Harvey-Brown John Melville Bishop Lauren D. Rogers Lindsey Walters Thank You Mrs Mary Reid Web design David Hammonds Contact Us shakespearemag@outlook.com Facebook facebook.com/ShakespeareMagazine Twitter @UKShakespeare Website www.shakespearemagazine.com

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Muse of Fire

The Shakespeare Force is strong with these two! Meet Dan and Giles, and prepare to be a-Mused.

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Contents

Tower of This must be the place 14 Power Our US correspondent is transported by Macbeth at the American Shakespeare Center.

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Sound and 24 Vision

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In Shakespeare’s day, all roads led to the Tower of London.

Filter Theatre Company take on the Scottish Play in Bristol.

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WIN!

One of 5 copies of Station Eleven, the thrilling postApocalyptic Shakespeare novel by Emily St. John Mandel.

The Letter of Between the the Law 36 lines 42 The Globe’s Read Not Dead puts the plays back in their place.

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The Nurse’s Tale retold by novelist Lois Leveen.

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Simply send an email to us at shakespearemag@outlook.com with ‘Station’ in the subject line. Don’t forget to include your name, address and contact number. Closing date is Wednesday 15 January. Good luck!

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!Muse of Fire

Tongues o 6

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Muse of Fire

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Actors and best mates Dan Poole and Giles Terera have wowed the world with their celebratory Shakespeare road-trip documentary Muse of Fire=IEVWSJ½PQMRKWE[XLMWH]REQMGHYSMRXIVZMI[IZIV]SRI JVSQKPEQSVSYWWXEVWPMOI.YHI0E[XSZIRIVEFPIEGEHIQMGWWYGLEW ,EVSPH&PSSQ2SXXSQIRXMSRERYRJSVKIXXEFPIIRGSYRXIV[MXL(EQI .YHM(IRGL%RHRS[MX´WXMQIJSVXLIWIQSHIVRHE]7LEOIWTIEVI )ZERKIPMWXWXSERW[IVWSQI&EVHVIPEXIHUYIWXMSRWJVSQYW Words: Brooke Thomas

of

Fire

Giles (left) and Dan take centre stage at Shakespeare’s Globe. Images courtesy of Muse of Fire.

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!Muse of Fire

;LEX´W]SYVZIV]JMVWXQIQSV] of Shakespeare? Dan: “Sitting in a classroom in Sheffield. They took us down to a room and they wheeled in this crummy TV that was locked down in a big steel cage. They put in – and I can’t remember what it was – but I have a feeling it may have been Henry V. They did it quite consistently, every month or so you’d go sit watch another one. You can’t just do that – that doesn’t mean anything. As a result, I assumed it was something that I shouldn’t like, or wouldn’t like, or I’d never like, and I didn’t see the relevance of it.” Giles: “My first memory of Shakespeare I don’t actually remember, because my mother told me about it. We were at a neighbour’s wedding. I was a page boy, my sisters were flower girls, so I was probably three or four. I was running around

The two actors travelled all over the world on their quest to explore and understand Shakespeare.

and being noisy and this woman at the wedding said to my mother ‘Oh, that boy’s going to be a Shakespearean actor.’ I guess because I was yakking. I forgot about it until I came to study and thought ‘That’s an odd thing for someone to say about a black kid in Stevenage in the early ’80s!’” Dan: “I then came back to it when I was 14, 15. It was Macbeth, I think, and it was sitting around in a circle reading two lines each. How can you possibly get an understanding reading two lines?” Do you remember when that GLERKIH#;LIR]SYHIGMHIH XLEX]SYGSYPHLEZIE[SVOMRK relationship with, or even a love for, Shakespeare? Dan and Giles: “Yeah!” Giles: “I’d decided to become an actor and did a two year BTEC course. You’d never

“It’s a film for people who feel, like us, that they were slightly cut off from or intimidated by Shakespeare” Giles Terera

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Muse of Fire

“Young people are more than capable of receiving Henry VI in period costume, spoken word for word as Shakespeare wrote it” Giles Terera know there was anyone called Shakespeare from my BTEC in performing arts, the name never came up. Then I went to drama school, where I met Dan, and that same year Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet came out, and also Looking for Richard, Al Pacino’s documentary. At the same time we had a voice teacher who showed us Olivier’s films and then the penny dropped big time for me, and I just fell in love, as lots of actors do. I just drank up everything I could, read it, carried books around, I knew I wanted to do more and see more in that world.” Dan: “I remember Henry V was the thing I got caught up in. I had three friends who went to the first Gulf War in ’91. I was a penpal to all my friends who were in Iraq or Desert Storm, and the letters that came back were so odd I genuinely felt echoes of the world of that play. There were extremes throughout. One of them would be calm for five paragraphs, then there’d be a paragraph in the middle that would look like it’d been written by someone else, like a clown or a grotesque… It just didn’t fit with anything else. It was obviously the extremes of what they were dealing with coming out in a totally different way, so for me Henry V always had a real connection with people that I knew. Since then we’ve got other friends who’ve been in that kind of environment, and when you talk to them you realise that Shakespeare got those themes really right.” 8LIVI´WEZIV]TIVWSREPJIIPXSXLI film – was that intentional? Were you influenced by 0SSOMRKJSV

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Richard, for example? Giles: “Yeah, because all of the other programmes we’d seen about Shakespeare were [In boring history teacher voice] ‘In 1642, blah blah blah, Shakespeare was here in a small market town’ and I’m like, ‘I dunno, I dunno what you’re saying.’ Even if I literally know what you’re saying, the presentation puts me off. So if we were going to be different we knew that there’d have to be no artifice to it, it’d have to be as honest as possible.” [NB In 1642 Shakespeare had been dead for 26 years – Boring History Ed] Dan: “We wanted it to be more accessible than a talking heads documentary. There’s nothing wrong with those, but they exist already.” Giles: “Look at the subject matter. The subject matter is: Shakespeare wrote in such a way that he could speak to very highly literate people, but he could also speak to the people who’d just paid a penny to be a groundling, or to royalty. He could speak to everyone. Therefore that’s what we must do. This can’t be a film for the intelligentsia, it’s not a film for the academic elite. It’s a film for people who feel, like us, that they were slightly cut off from or intimidated by Shakespeare.” People have been seriously impressed by the sheer wealth of interviews in Muse of Fire. Giles: “All the actors that we spoke to were really generous with their time, and we knew we’d only be able to use maybe a minute and a half of each interview in the film. Some of these people have been talking about Shakespeare, or performing and living Shakespeare for 50, 60 years, they’ve got incredible things to say. We were fortunate enough to see and hear that, and we knew that we wanted other people to be able to see it. In a way it’s almost… I don’t know if I can say that.” Dan: “Yeah, you can, you can say it.” Giles: “It’s almost more exciting than the film. We’d often go to find a nugget, a clip, for the film, and end up watching all of the SHAKESPEARE magazine

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!Muse of Fire interview because what they’re saying is so honest, rich and inspiring that you get drawn in. So we’re working with a theatre [Shakespeare’s Globe in London] to make these interviews available online, for free, for people to watch and enjoy for years to come. There’s some really moving moments in there.” Dan: “The greatest thing, and it gives me goosebumps just thinking about it, is the lack of vanity from everyone. There was no ego, nothing, and that’s testament to them and how human they are.” %RHMX´WEPWSXIWXEQIRXXS]SYV TVSNIGX8EPOMRKEFSYX]SYVPSZISJ Shakespeare and what it means to you made for a relaxed and open atmosphere. Dan: “We hope so.” Giles: “It’s good that people responded to that.” Dan: “That would have been the worst-case scenario, if people hadn’t understood that we were a conduit to open up a potentially difficult subject. If they’d thought that we were a couple of dicks – you’d have never seen us again!” -WXLIVIER]SRI]SY[MWL]SY´H MRXIVZMI[IHFYX]SYHMHR´XUYMXI KIXXS# Dan: “There’s lots. We’d have loved to have spoken to Denzel Washington, John Malkovich, Laurence Olivier…” Giles: “He dead.” Dan: “What! (laughter) Helen Mirren.” Giles: “There were a lot of near misses.” Dan: “Leonardo DiCaprio. We were in the ballpark for that happening, but these people are all so busy.” Giles: “Richard Attenborough, who sadly passed away. He was happy to speak to us, but he was very ill at that point.” Dan: “And Pete Postlethwaite. It was going to happen, but sadly he passed away. Which again is a tragedy, but he left a great mark on what we have today.” Dan: “I hope you print this, because no-one ever does. I just want to acknowledge the

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The Muse of Fire boys face the media… (Image: Piper Williams)

people that made this possible, from the graphics, the animations, the music – Giles composed, but we had a team – all these people who gave up their time for free. Venues, theatres, members’ clubs all round London who let us shoot…” Giles: “The actors themselves.” Dan: “The actors themselves, camera companies…” All for the love of Shakespeare. Giles: “That’s a good title.” Dan: “For the Love of Shakespeare?” 8LIWIUYIP Dan: “Yeah.” Giles: “Noooooooo!” ;LEX´W]SYVHVIEQ7LEOIWTIEVIER role? Dan: “Iago.” Giles: “You’d be a good Iago.” Dan: “Or Henry V, actually.” Giles: “You’d be a good Iago because everyone trusts you and also you could absolutely slay everyone.” Dan: [Laughs] “It would be an absolute joy!”


Muse of Fire

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Stars of Fire: (clockwise from top left) Sir Ben Kingsley, Brian Cox, Geraldine James, John Hurt, James Earl Jones, Ewan McGregor.

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!Muse of Fire

…And more Stars of Fire: (clockwise from top left) Baz Luhrmann,Tom Hiddleston, Jude Law, Dame Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes.

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! “It’s more than 400 years old, it’s not going to just come to you. It can do, but not necessarily, so you have to do a bit of work and meet it halfway” Dan Poole Muse of Fire

Giles: “There’s lots of parts I’d like to play. I really like Aaron the Moor in Titus. I saw it this year and was reminded what an extraordinary path that is for all of them.” Dan: “That’s actually one of my favourite plays, I’d love to be anyone in Titus.” -J]SYGSYPHKSFEGOMRXMQIXS little Giles and little Dan, how would you teach Shakespeare to yourselves? Giles: “We often ask that question!” Dan: “Get up and start speaking it, don’t sit in a circle and read it. If you don’t understand what you’re saying, keep saying it. Ewan McGregor says in the film ‘[Shakespeare] has a different taste in the mouth.’ You find that out by speaking it, and then it starts to find a world in you, I think.” Giles: “I think you’re right, but maybe it’s a bit weird to expect teachers to be able to do that. Maybe if you put actors in each classroom they’d say ‘Right, push the tables back, let’s get on our feet.’ Whereas a teacher, especially if they haven’t got that connection with a play themselves, will probably teach it how they were taught it 20 years ago – sitting around in a circle. A lot of the actors we interviewed actually said that the teachers should be better equipped, even if it’s just that one play on the syllabus each year. What we’re battling is people being told that it’s ‘not for you’ somehow. They say ‘You’re not going to understand this, Kids, so we’re going to set it in outer space and put a pop song in it.’ That’s doing the audience a disservice as well. Young people are more than capable of receiving Henry VI in period costume, spoken word for word as Shakespeare wrote it. If you tell them that ‘You’re not going to get this so we’re going to dumb it down and put rap in it…’”

Dan: “...You’re taking something away from them. It’s more than 400 years old, it’s not going to just come to you. It can do, but not necessarily, so you have to do a bit of work and meet it halfway.” Can you sum up the whole Muse of Fire experience in one sentence? Dan: “I know this sounds like I’m a total wanker, but it’s become the richest palette of colour in my life. That’s it. And it tastes good as well.” Giles: “You’re eating paint.” Dan: “I’m basically eating paint.” Giles: “You mixed your metaphors. This is the kind of kids we were at school... One sentence? It’s been the most challenging experience of my life, but also the most rewarding.” Dan: “Really tiring. Really hard work, brilliantly hard work. It doesn’t really go away, you assume that once it’s out there it’s done, but we still have an ongoing responsibility. Again, this sounds like I’m a wanker, but we have a responsibility to be an architect to the resource.” Giles: “No, we would be the night watchmen. The architect is the one who builds it, we’re the ones going around with the torch at 5am, hearing a mouse at the end of the corridor.” Dan: “Like the big lock-up at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Giles: “With cobwebs and all kinds of nasties...”

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Muse of Fire is available now on iTunes. You can also see full-length Muse of Fire interviews via Globe Player. http://www.globeplayer.tv/museoffire SHAKESPEARE magazine

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!American Shakespeare Center

This must be the place Several thousand miles away from Stratford-upon-Avon and London, a reconstructed Blackfriars playhouse is serving world class Shakespeare. Welcome to Staunton, Virginia – home of the American Shakespeare Center. Words: Mary Finch

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American Shakespeare Center American Tragedy: James Keegan and Sarah Fallon as the murderous King and Queen in Macbeth at the ASC. (Image by Michael Bailey)

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!American Shakespeare Center

Above: Shakespeare Magazine’s Mary Finch outside the Blackfriars Playhouse. Below: Mary interviews ASC luminary Dr Ralph Cohen. (Images: Lauren D. Rogers)

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American Shakespeare Center

Drive far enough through the cornfields of Virginia and you’ll end up in the quaint town of Staunton. And if you resist the allure of the bookstores, bars and coffee shops, you’ll come to one of the wonders of the Shakespearean world – the Blackfriars Theatre at the American Shakespeare Center. Such was the pilgrimage I made last summer, as have many Shakespeareans before me.

Driving into town, I must confess I wondered if this was not the beginning of another Shakespearean misadventure (see previous issue for examples of my many mishaps). Could we have taken a wrong turn? This picturesque town seemed more like the setting for a cliché comingof-age movie than a cultural hub for Shakespeareans. “We didn’t want an urban place,” says company co-founder Dr Ralph Cohen, explaining the seemingly odd choice of location. They chose Staunton because, in his words, “It’s a place to come, park your car, see a lot of shows and not have to worry about anything.” Dr Cohen’s passion for Shakespeare bursts at the seams. He began talking as soon as I arrived, hardly waiting for the recorder to start. When he discovered that I had never seen the interior of the Blackfriars, he insisted on accompanying me inside, eager to see my

The balcony and interior of the Blackfriars Playhouse. (Image by Lauren D. Rogers)

“James Keegan swept between extremes, portraying Macbeth’s mixture of hesitancy and consuming ambition”

reactions. And he was not disappointed. The view from the upstairs seating took my breath away and slapped a goofy grin on my face. In the scene before me, patrons milled around the precise replication of Shakespeare’s indoor theatre, waiting for the Wednesday evening performance to begin. Some (like myself) gaped at the detail in the woodwork of the performance space, while others went to the onstage bar for refreshments. Some even swayed to the music played by the actors in the loft above the stage. Don’t be mistaken, though – they were not playing period ballads, but covers of pop songs, such as ‘Rolling in the Deep’ by Adele and ‘Locked Out of Heaven’ by Bruno Mars. And the the audience itself caught my SHAKESPEARE magazine

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Left: A suitably bloody Banquo. (Image by Michael Bailey) This page: Macbeth gets well and truly Macduffed. (Image by Lindsey Walters)

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!American Shakespeare Center attention. There were people with grey hair and people with neon blue hair. There were audience members who were likely in primary school and others who were likely at university, and beyond. The power of the Bard’s words unified this otherwise disjointed crowd. While the diversity in the small audience surprised me, it seems like the most natural thing to director and co-founder Jim Warren. “[Shakespeare] wrote for diverse audiences,” explains Warren, “so if we do some of the stuff that he did, we can create that diversity because that diverse appeal was written into the play.” One Elizabethan motto the ASC holds proudly is – as T-shirts for sale in the lobby boast – “We do it with the lights on”. Throughout the entire performance, electric candelabras illuminate the actors as well as the audience. This illumination creates a unique sense of community, as the reaction of fellow audience members is easily seen, especially with the audience placed on three sides of the

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“One Elizabethan motto the ASC holds proudly is: We do it with the lights on”

A performance in full swing at the Blackfriars Playhouse. (Image by Lauren D. Rogers)

stage. Such lighting allowed me to watch my fellow audience members as much as the actors on stage. The two young theatre goers sitting on the stage caught my attention as they pulled pink sweaters over their faces at the entrance of the Weird Sisters. And any feelings of embarrassment over my tears for MacDuff’s grief disappeared as soon as I cautioned a glance around and saw I was not the only one so moved. Before the start of rehearsal, Warren sent the actors a set of typically forthright notes. “We won’t be making Lady Macbeth one of


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American Shakespeare CenterA

The Weird Sisters of Macbeth at the ASC. (Image by Michael Bailey)

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!American Shakespeare Center

the witches,” he wrote. “We won’t be making Macbeth the Third Murderer. We won’t have the witches costumed as cheerleaders/priests/nuns… We won’t be doing a lot of things that a lot of productions do.” Refreshingly, Warren’s production remains powerfully committed simply to telling the story with a straightforward aim of entertaining and challenging the audience. “Watching Macbeth’s descent into hell can help us to strive to never be in that situation,” says Warren. “To never be controlled by somebody in that situation.” James Keegan’s portrayal of the Scottish King swept between the extremes, lending authenticity to Macbeth’s mixture of hesitancy and consuming ambition. As

The ‘Shakespeare on the Road’ team visited Staunton on their US tour: (l-r) Paul Prescott (Warwick University), %.0ISR 1MW½X-RG  Paul Edmondson (Shakespeare Birthplace Trust), 1IPMWWE0ISR 1MW½X Inc). Image by Lauren D. Rogers.

“Throughout the entire performance, electric candelabras illuminate the actors and the audience” 22

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his counterpart, Sarah Fallon creates a Lady Macbeth to match, a Lady Macbeth motivated not only by ambition, but also love. Together, Fallon and Keegan present two of Shakespeare’s greatest villains as two of his greatest lovers. Of course, their love proves horrifically destructive – ultimately they lose each other in exchange for a brief claim to a bloody crown. Even while descending into hell, there were moments of genuine humour. In the midst of the Porter’s monologue, immediately after the murder of Duncan, the actor strayed from his 400-year-old lines to have some fun with the audience members onstage, soliciting kisses on the cheek and ridiculing outfit choices. Through the jokes, the flashes of violence and the moments of tragedy, the production felt cohesive and fully Shakespeare. For Warren, the comedy in the tragedy is only natural. “Shakespeare’s fun!” he says, “Even if it is the dark tragedy of Macbeth, there is a lot of fun in it.”

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Tower of Power !History: The Tower of London

During his lifetime it was a place of living history, a symbol of Royal authority and a much-feared prison. But what would the Tower of London have meant to William Shakespeare? Words: Zoe Bramley Images courtesy Historic Royal Palaces

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History: The Tower of London

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“The Tower was also a prison – a place where the unlucky, the brave and the foolish went to suffer and die”

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!History: The Tower of London

s a City of London Tour Guide I can talk for hours about Shakespeare and his links to obscure ruins hidden in secret corners of the Square Mile. The smaller and quirkier, the better. “See this wall? Let me tell you about it!”

Shakespeare had a full, rich life in the City. We find him in fairly ordinary places – Carter Lane, Bread Street and the alleyways of Blackfriars. So when the Editor asked me to write about the Tower of London I demurred. Surely the Tower yields tales of kings, queens and traitors. If Will from Stratford ever went there it’s not recorded. What on earth would I say? Shakespare himself is almost silent on the subject. But there are some interesting scenes in Richard III which could reveal something of his feelings toward the fortress. In Act III, Scene I, Prince Edward speaks plainly: “I do not like the Tower...” He is a doomed little boy

who, along with his brother, will shortly be swallowed up within its stone walls and disappear from history. He’s inquisitive and he asks Buckingham about the old building, wondering if it was built by Julius Caesar. Buckingham replies that is was indeed built by Caesar, and the reader wonders if this is another amusing example of Shakespeare’s dodgy grasp of history. Just think of all those anachronistic clocks in plays like Macbeth and Julius Caesar, not forgetting the game of billiards in Antony and Cleopatra. For Elizabethans, however, the origins of the Tower were hazy. Squatting just outside London, at the south eastern boundary, it seemed to have sprung up at the time the Romans built their great wall around the City. Londoners did indeed know the White Tower as ‘Julius Caesar’s Tower’. Of course, we know different. Begun in 1078, the great stone fortress was built to consolidate William the Conqueror’s victory over the English and keep the population in awe of his might. By Will’s day it was a contradictory place. On one hand it functioned as a tourist attraction, with visitors flocking to see fearsome beasts such as leopards and bears at the royal menagerie. On the other hand, it was still very much a royal palace. It was also a prison. The Tower was a place where the unlucky, the brave and the foolish went to suffer and die. Most infamously, the Tower was where a Queen of England, Anne Boleyn, was imprisoned and executed in 1536 – an incident which is most definitely not mentioned in Shakespeare’s late collaborative play Henry VIII. In 1601, Robert Devereux, the renowned

“Most infamously, the Tower was where a Queen of England, Anne Boleyn, was imprisoned and executed in 1536” 26

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History: The Tower of London

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A symbol of royal power, the Tower was a natural target for popular uprisings like the Jack Cade Rebellion, as depicted in Shakespeare’s Henry VI, Part 2. Dramatised by Shakespeare in Richard III, the tale of the Princes in the Tower is one of England’s most poignant legends.

After the 1605 Gunpowder Plot (which some believe is a subtext in Shakespeare’s Macbeth), Guy Fawkes was tortured in the Tower.

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!History: The Tower of London “Tower diaries record the torture and execution of Edward Arden of Warwickshire – kinsman of William Shakespeare” Earl of Essex, was beheaded on Tower Green for his failed uprising against Anne Boleyn’s daughter, the mighty Queen Elizabeth I. Perhaps unwittingly, Shakespeare’s company had played a role in the rebellion by agreeing to perform Richard II at the Globe. The rebels had asked them to dust off the old classic once more and to include the ‘deposition scene’ in which Richard II is shown giving up his crown. In the fervid atmosphere of late Elizabethan England, with a paranoid, ageing queen on the throne, this was controversial stuff. Essex hoped that the people would be inspired to follow the play’s example and help him depose Elizabeth. That episode must have been frightening enough, but Shakespeare already had a more personal connection with the horrors that awaited within the Tower. In November 1583, Tower diaries state, one Edward Arden of Warwickshire was tortured upon the rack. He was accused of treason, of plotting against the Queen’s life. After a show trial at the Guildhall he was hung, drawn and quartered. This was William Shakespeare’s kinsman, a second cousin of his mother, Mary Arden. The shock felt by the Shakespeare family must have been immense. The shame! What would the neighbours say? Warwickshire was a small world. William was only 19. Two years later, he disappears from sight and the seven ‘Lost Years’ begin. How had this family tragedy come about? Edward Arden was a wealthy gentleman with an unfortunate son-in-law, John Somerville. Like Arden, Somerville was Catholic in a time when penal laws made life difficult and dangerous for their kind. It seems that one day the unstable Somerville snapped. He set off for London, telling everyone he met that he was going to kill the Queen. Now, in the days of hanging,

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drawing and quartering, this was indiscreet at best. It makes me think there was never any actual plot, just the delusional ravings of a man who was widely regarded as mentally unbalanced. Sadly for Edward Arden, Somerville named him as one who was involved in the ‘treason’ and he too was arrested, suffering his grisly fate at Smithfield. Somerville was found strangled inside his cell at the Tower. Visitors to the Tower today can see pitiful graffiti etched into the walls, testament to the lost souls who had short stays there prior to execution or who pined away for years, forgotten behind bars. Escape was not unheard of, but very rare and difficult. In Act I, Scene IV of Richard III the imprisoned Clarence tells Brackenbury of a dream in which he’d broken from the Tower and set sail for Burgundy. And in Act IV, Scene I Queen Elizabeth calls the Tower a “rough cradle for such little pretty ones”. She’s talking about the Princes in the Tower. When Shakespeare thought of the Tower it must have been with sadness and dread, knowing what had happened to Edward Arden in there. Perhaps his near-silence on that most infamous building actually speaks volumes. Considering he was one of the few playwrights of his age to avoid imprisonment, silence may have been the wisest course.

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Zoe Bramley leads the Shakespeare Trail and can arrange private walks. Go to www. shakespearetrail.blogspot.com or Twitter @shakespearewalk to connect with her. For information on visiting the Tower of London, go to www.hrp.org.uk


%QEKRM½GIRXWYMXSJ armour on display at the Tower.

One of the iconic buildings of English history, the Tower has seen plenty of GSR¾MGXERH upheaval.

The Duke of Clarence was supposedly drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine at the Tower – another legend perpetuated by Shakespeare’s Richard III.

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!Filter Macbeth Following critical acclaim for their rock-and-roll comedies Twelfth Night and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Filter 8LIEXVILEZIRS[XEOIRSRXLIMV½VWX7LEOIWTIEVIER XVEKIH]¯ETVSHYGXMSRSJMacbethIWTIGMEPP]JSVXLI Tobacco Factory in Bristol. We met them to investigate XLIMVYRMUYIP]MRZIRXMZIETTVSEGLXSXLI&EVH Words: Lucy Corley Images: Farrows Creative

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Filter Macbeth

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!Filter Macbeth Filter’s maverick take on Shakespeare’s Macbeth involves cooking up a cauldron of sound.

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Filter Macbeth

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As Shakespeare’s Scottish play approaches its bloody end, Macbeth broods that “Life’s but a walking shadow.” The metaphor neatly epitomises Filter Theatre’s restless new production.

At less than two hours long, Filter’s Macbeth powers through the play’s most famous lines at an intense pace, taking the audience through a kaleidoscopic montage of sounds and images that seems to be over before it’s really begun. Yet Artistic Director Oliver Dimsdale, who also plays the title role, asserts that this is a fairly conservative edit by Filter’s standards. “With other Shakespeares,” he says, “we might find ourselves being a little bit bolder with the cutting and the pasting. But this particular story is just the most tautly, brilliantly written psychological thriller and we didn’t want to tamper with it too much.” This is Filter’s third Shakespeare production. They have toured Europe with Twelfth Night (2007) and the UK with A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2012), but Macbeth marks the company’s first venture into tragedy. Their take on the classic had the audience alternating between chuckles and grimaces as Lady Macbeth drew a target on Duncan’s chest in lipstick, and Macbeth tucked into a dead crow as if it were a hot dog. The darkly playful tone is typical of the company’s style. “We try to approach a

Lady Macbeth (Poppy Miller) meets the audience eye-to-eye.

“Lady Macbeth is not a psychopath, because she has some remorse” Poppy Miller

Shakespearean text with the right amount of respect but also the right amount of, shall we say, irreverence,” Dimsdale says. “I think a piece of art should keep on creating and moving. If it all has to be done exactly the way it was, then isn’t that a museum piece rather than a piece of art?” Developed at Bristol’s Tobacco Factory, the production exploits the theatre’s closeness between audience and performers to create an intimate piece that never quite leaves the rehearsal room. The actors drift casually onto the stage with the houselights still up, in drab-coloured, modern-day dress no different from the audience’s. “It’s a conscious choice with Filter’s Shakespeare productions to have the house lights 30 percent up on the audience, to be able to see people’s faces,” explains Poppy Miller, who plays Lady Macbeth. “The

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!Filter Macbeth idea is that it’s available, that there’s no such thing as ‘us and them’. We are in some way, at times, all part of Macbeth, part of the action.” The action takes place on blocks surrounding a pit in the centre of the stage. Here the three witches become sound technicians, the ingredients of their brew the array of instruments and devices that make up the sound board at the heart of all Filter’s work. “Our shows always have music, composition and sound design at the epicentre of the process,” says Dimsdale, “and in this case, actually at the epicentre of the stage. We find it absolutely freeing and thrilling that we can concentrate on sound design rather than necessarily a character.” And it is definitely sound that calls the shots in this production. The witches’ concoction of tangled wires, sliders and strings squeak, rumble and pulsate to create a cauldron of sound that represents the

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“Macbeth is just the most tautly, brilliantly written psychological thriller” Oliver Dimsdale

Lost in music: Oliver Dimsdale as Macbeth.

characters’ motives and fears. Radios and baby monitors hint at unknown spaces beyond the theatre, adding a wistful, intangible tone to the production. Into this heady blend wanders Dimsdale’s philosophically ambitious Macbeth, to be haunted by the witches’ music. The spring reverberation unit played by Banquo (Victoria Moseley) even has two long wires, suggestive of puppet strings. A second force behind Macbeth is, of course, his wife. “When she reads the letter she goes straight into the head of the beast and is incredibly clear Duncan’s murder has


Filter Macbeth

to happen,” says Dimsdale. Miller’s Lady Macbeth alternates this flinty determination with an unsettlingly cheerful hostess’s smile. “She’s not a psychopath,” says Miller, “because she has some remorse. Macbeth pre-analyses and analyses and therefore, perhaps, doesn’t go mad. She loses her mind because it’s a very practical task for her, in some ways.” Miller certainly has a brisk, secretarial efficiency. Her sharp, straight-backed form even stands in for the knife in the ‘Is this a dagger...?’ speech as Macbeth follows her, spellbound, around the stage. The production’s few splashes of colour come from occasional cool indigo lighting and the red grin Lady Macbeth paints on her husband’s face after Duncan’s murder. Yet this minimalist style allows the lines to

The production’s minimalist style allows Shakespeare’s words to have their full impact.

“There’s no such thing as ‘us and them’. We are all part of Macbeth, part of the action” Poppy Miller

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have their full impact and, Dimsdale hopes, encourages the audience to really listen and engage with the play. “For me, a pre-planned performance can only ever go so far,” says the actor. “Just being on the line and relating to the audience keeps the text as alive as possible.” I can’t speak for the rest of the audience, but the intensity of Macbeth looking straight at us and commanding we “resolve ourselves” to kill Banquo isn’t something I’ll forget in a hurry. It’s this feeling of uncertainty about where the play ends and life begins that is unique to Filter’s productions and integral to the company’s relationship with Shakespeare. “It’s sometimes very thrilling in the creating of a Shakespearean role to not think about what you’re going to say before you say it,” Dimsdale reflects. “Too much ‘I’ll say the line this way’ and you’re getting into the territory of something that’s artificial, when actually a lot of the time it’s there in the line. You say the line and you feel the story propelling you.”

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!Historic places

The

Letter of the

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Law

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Historic places

“The relationship between the law and the theatre in London is almost as old as the Inns of Court themselves”

For many fans, nothing beats the thrill of experiencing Shakespeare in a suitably historic venue. And now Read Not Dead on the Road is exploring the Bard’s links to the legal profession at London’s Inns of Court. Words and images courtesy of Shakespeare’s Globe. Photography by Anne-Marie Bickerton and Alex Harvey-Brown.

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Actors and lawyers perform George Gascoigne’s 1573 play Supposes at Gray’s Inn.

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!Historic places “Storytelling is a core aspect of both the advocate and actor. The objective is to connect emotionally with the person one is trying to persuade”

hakespeare’s Globe is on a quest to stage every play known to have been performed on the stages of London before 1642. Launched in 1995 by Globe Education, Read Not Dead brings actors, audiences and scholars together to explore and celebrate those plays by Shakespeare’s contemporaries via script-in-hand, play-ina-day performances. They are not meant to be polished productions, but there is a shared spirit of adventure and excitement for the actors and audiences uncovering these hidden gems. Part of the project is to take these rare plays back to their historical context. Last summer, Love’s Victory by Lady Mary Wroth was staged at Penshurst Place in Kent. It is the

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Actors rehearse Lady Mary Wroth’s Love’s Victory (c. 1620) at Penshurst Place, Kent.

first pastoral comedy known to be written by a woman, and Penshurst Place is the very location it is most likely to have been written and first performed 400 years ago. At the beginning of its new ‘Shakespeare and Friendship’ season of public events, Globe Education is taking Read Not Dead across the river Thames to London’s Inns of Court for a special series celebrating the ‘amity of the inns’. The series launched in November with a performance of The Most Excellent Comedy of Two The Most Faithfullest Friends Damon and Pithias. Written around 1564 by Richard Edwards, a little-known precursor to Shakespeare, this tragi-comedy celebrates true


Historic places

and virtuous friendship. Today, friendship between the Inns and among members remains a cornerstone of Inns of Court culture, as lawyers from around the world live, study and practise together in shared amity. The Inns of Court in London are the professional associations for barristers in England and Wales. The relationship between the law and the theatre in London is almost as old as the Inns of Court themselves. All four – Inner Temple, Middle Temple, Lincoln’s and Gray’s – are known as famous, and sometime infamous, venues for professional as well as amateur drama. The first recorded performance of Twelfth Night took place in

Read Not Dead allows historic plays to come alive for modern audiences.

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Middle Temple Hall in 1602, an event which was celebrated on its 400th anniversary with a production of the play in the same venue by actors from Shakespeare’s Globe including Mark Rylance and Stephen Fry. The Comedy of Errors is recorded to have been performed in 1594 at Gray’s Inn. Shakespeare was interested enough in the Inns of Court to make them the setting for Act II, Scene IV of Henry VI, Part 1. Iain Christie is a barrister and trained actor who combines both practices. As a Bencher of the Inner Temple and a member of the Inner Temple drama society, he was involved in the Globe’s previous performance of George Gascoigne’s Supposes there last January,

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!Historic places

“Modern training courses for lawyers engage professional actors to teach breathing, posture, presence, and vocal projection”

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performing alongside Globe actors and his fellow Benchers. “The relationship between the two professions extends beyond the use of legal venues to stage historic plays,” he says, “and the pleasure of lawyers entertaining their colleagues in after-dinner revels. It applies also to the comparative skills employed by both professions.” Indeed, modern training courses for young lawyers increasingly engage professional actors to teach presentation skills which focus on breathing, posture, presence, and vocal projection. “I am interested in how law students can use the drama-school techniques of narrative and improvisation in their work,” says Iain.

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This reading of Richard Edwards’ 1565 play Damon and Pithias took place last month at Middle Temple Hall.

“Storytelling is a core aspect of the craft of both the advocate and actor. The advocate must always remember that his objective is to connect emotionally with the person he is trying to persuade.” But, as Iain explains, this transference of skills does not only travel in one direction. “When I was at drama school,” he says, “I was struck by the similarity between the process of textual analysis in rehearsals and preparation for trial. “The actor must create a consistent backstory for their character so their performance is grounded in a continuing reality. A barrister must build a case theory for a version of events he wishes the judge or jury to believe.


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And the processes are strikingly similar. “However, whenever someone comments that in becoming an actor I am really just doing the same job I remind them that, whilst advocacy may at times be entertaining, a lawyer is engaged in a serious business. He is not there to put on a performance. Any advocate who plays to the gallery will be given a hard time in court.” Read Not Dead at the Inns of Court will continue into 2015 as part of ‘Shakespeare and Friendship’. Love’s Sacrifice by John Ford will be performed in the Great Hall at Gray’s Inn on Sunday 15 February. The play was dedicated to Ford’s cousin and namesake, John Ford who was a member of Gray’s and

High Court Judge Sir Michael Burton also took part in the staged reading of Supposes at Gray’s Inn.

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who the author called “my truest friend, my worthiest kinsman.” The performance will star current Gray’s members Master Roger Eastman, High Court Judge Sir Michael John Burton and Masters Charles Douthwaite and Colin Manning. On Sunday 1 March, Inner Temple Hall will host The Troublesome Reign of King John of England by George Peele, in celebration of the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta. And the final reading will return to the Globe, with the anonymous The Faithful Friends on 19 April.

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!Interview: Lois Leveen

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Interview: Lois Leveen

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Between

Shakespeare’s Lines In her novel Juliet’s Nurse, Lois Leveen takes a minor character from Romeo and JulietERHWIXWLIV½VQP]SR centre stage. The Oregon-based author told us what it was like to rewrite one of Shakespeare’s greatest hits. Interview by Mary Finch

Left: Penny Layden as the Nurse and Ellie Kendrick as Juliet in this 2009 production. Image: Shakespeare’s Globe. Above: Lois Leveen by John Melville Bishop.

Why did you decide to take on Romeo and Juliet? “It really started, specifically with the title, Juliet’s Nurse. When the title popped into my head I was really excited and I went back and re-read the play. Though I have taught other Shakespeare plays, I hadn’t actually read Romeo and Juliet since high school.” What was it about the Nurse that made you want to tell her story? “The first scene when the Nurse appears is also Juliet’s first scene. Juliet has eight lines of text and the Nurse has over 60,

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!Interview: Lois Leveen

and I could see here was a woman who wanted to tell her story. In that very first speech we get some glimpses into Juliet’s childhood – the day that she is weaned, a peek at the Nurse’s husband. But most significantly the information that the Nurse had her own daughter who was born at the same time as Juliet but didn’t live. “I was captivated by the idea of exploring that relationship. What would it be like to lose a child – the most profound and devastating loss that someone can experience? And then have another child to love and to comfort, but also be a servant in her household… “So it seemed like the Nurse had a rich story of her own. We think of her as minor and comic, but she has the third largest number of lines in the play and she embodies the tragic as well as the comic in

Lois models a glamrock Shakespeare T-shirt in a Veronese tower.That’s Lake Garda in the background. (Image: Chuck G. Barnes)

her own story. “And then there were other things I wanted to explore in the story. The Nurse refers to Tybalt as her best friend, which was striking to me because they are not in a single scene together. So I wanted to know what the nature of their relationship was like, what their friendship was like, across class and gender and age lines. “I also wanted to know more about some of the other characters. You know, when Juliet was born Lady Capulet was not much older than Juliet is at the time of the play. We know that Lord Capulet says ‘The Lord has swallowed all my hopes but she’, implying his other children.” This seems to be a polarising play. People either deeply love it or really dislike it. Why do you think that is?

“We think of her as minor, but she has the third largest number of lines in the play. She embodies the tragic as well as the comic in her own story” 44

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Interview: Lois Leveen

“The part of me that is a historian wants to make sure people learn about the past in accurate ways. The novelist in me understands character and story needs to drive that” Left: Another exhausting research trip to Shakespeare’s Italy. Below: Lois has the Bard under her thumb. (Images: Chuck G. Barnes)

“I think part of it is that it is usually the play that people read first, assigned in school, usually in grade nine or ten in the US. First of all, we were never meant to read Shakespeare. He never would have thought of it as something we would read – he would have thought of it as something performed. And I think it is chosen because it is supposed to be relevant to teens. Although I think it is, it is hard to see at the age. “So people come to it because they have to, not because they want to. Some people fall for it dearly, more through film – for one generation that was Zeffirelli and for another Baz Luhrmann, and even before that West Side Story. “But to go back to the play, especially with the perspective of an adult, is really a very different thing. One of the things that I’ve enjoyed most is that reviewers have read the novel and then gone back to read the play and they see in the play things they hadn’t seen before. I hope that will be true for most readers.” “I’ve come to like Romeo and Juliet

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more and more in the process of writing the novel, but I think there is often more depth to the characters than we think. And sometimes more simplicity. Romeo and Juliet were not, for many decades, considered the prime roles. It was really the Nurse and Mercutio. We get this emphasis on star-crossed lovers, which I think in some ways is a misunderstanding of how much else is going on in the play.” Shakespeare is very big and very well-beloved. What does it feel like to adapt his work? “I didn’t think about what it meant to take on the best-known playwright, and perhaps best-known author in the English language, and the best-known play in the English language, when I began the

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!Interview: Lois Leveen project. Which maybe is an indication of my naiveté. “One of the things that I’ve realised is that anytime anybody performs Shakespeare, they are always doing an active interpretation and adaptation. No actor delivers the lines the same way every day in every performance. And there’s not much stage direction in Shakespeare so directors are always making staging decisions, but also often making decisions about casting, changing lines, cutting lines. And so this idea of revising Shakespeare is really inherent to Shakespeare. “I realised the enormity of taking on Shakespeare when I spoke at the Shakespeare 450 conference in Paris, this past April. There were so many scholars from all over the world who had spent a lifetime studying Shakespeare, and not just his work but his reception across the centuries. But I think in some ways the people who love the play, or know the play well, particularly appreciate the novel. So my paper at Shakespeare 450 was very warmly received.” Did your past experience of writing historical fiction affect your approach to Juliet’s Nurse? “Well, the novel – like the play – is set in the 14th century. It’s really that moment when Italy is beginning to move from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. Scholars appreciate the kind of work the novel can do to bring scholarly research to a broader audience – and I have tried very hard to get that right. The part of me that is trained as a historian wants to make sure that people are learning about the past in accurate ways from my work, although the novelist in me also understands that character and story needs to drive that. So it’s about the sensory experience of whatever place the characters are in –

Lois channels Juliet at the famous balcony in Verona. And yes, we know there’s no balcony in the play… (Image: Chuck G. Barnes)

everything from cookbooks to fashion. Reading up on clothing, reading up on food, reading up on the religious practices.” With so much going on in the play – so many characters, conflicts, and themes – how did you decide what to focus on and expand upon in your novel? “In some ways, I had to stop looking at what the core theme might be for Shakespeare, because I had to discover what it was for Juliet’s Nurse. There are plot points, and certainly characters, and even lines or riffs on lines, that I pull over from Shakespeare. But it really is ultimately Angelica’s, the Nurse’s, story.”

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To read the opening chapter and order a copy of Juliet’s Room, go to www.loisleveen.com

“Romeo and Juliet were not, for many decades, considered the prime roles. It was really the Nurse and Mercutio” 46

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Contributors

Brooke Thomas

Our UK Staff Writer is a freelance writer based in London. She learned to love the bard during her BA at Royal Holloway, University of London, and she recently graduated from their MA Shakespeare Studies programme. You can find Brooke on Twitter @literallygeeked where she hosts a short story competition called #SmallTales every week.

Mary Finch Our US Staff Writer is

in her fourth year studying English at Messiah College in central Pennsylvania. Will first grabbed her attention in secondary school and hasn’t let go since – she reads, recites and watches Shakespeare whenever possible. Besides going on irrational adventures to see performances with her friend Alison, Mary also has a passion for swing dancing, dabbling in calligraphy and tending to her ever-growing window garden of succulents.

Meet thy makers... Just some of the contributors to this issue of Shakespeare Magazine

Zoe Bramley is a City of

London Tour Guide specialising in Shakespeare’s London and the Tudor City. She qualified in 2010 and then launched the Shakespeare Trail, a guided walk which explores the hidden sites associated with our greatest playwright. Zoe’s fascination with Shakespeare began after reading A Midsummer Night’s Dream aged 17 and wishing she could meet Bottom! Zoe can be contacted via www.shakespearetrail.com or find her @shakespearewalk on Twitter.

Lucy Corley has loved Shakespeare

in performance since watching Emma Thompson as Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, and through studying English at Exeter University she found she loved writing about it too. She graduated last summer and currently lives and works in Exeter, where aside from theatre, she enjoys singing, photography and occasional Appalachian dancing. Go to www.lucycorley.wordpress.com for her blogs on theatre.

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Next issue

We hope you’ve enjoyed Issue Five of Shakespeare Magazine. Here’s a taste of what we have coming up next time…

Sara Pascoe

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Comedy’s golden girl stands up for the Bard.

As You Like It

Meet Rosalind, the smartest girl in the wood.

Anthony Del Col

The Kill Shakespeare co-creator gets graphic.

Andrea Chapin

Young Will reimagined by the author of The Tutor.

Profile for Shakespeare Magazine

Shakespeare magazine 05  

Issue 5 of Shakespeare Magazine celebrates the amazing Shakespeare documentary film Muse of Fire. We also investigate Shakespeare and the To...

Shakespeare magazine 05  

Issue 5 of Shakespeare Magazine celebrates the amazing Shakespeare documentary film Muse of Fire. We also investigate Shakespeare and the To...