Shakespeare magazine 10

Page 1

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



Star Wars

“These aren’t the rude mechanicals you’re looking for…”

Macbeth King James, Shakespeare and the Witches’ tale

Globe Theatre

First Folio

Looking behind the scenes with Farah Karim-Cooper

Emma Smith explores the world’s most iconic book

Murder most foul Benedict Cumberbatch is Richard III in The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses

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




Star Wars

King James, Shakespeare and the Witches’ tale

“These aren’t the rude mechanicals you’re looking for…”

First Folio

Globe Theatre

Emma Smith explores the world’s most iconic book

Looking behind the scenes with Farah Karim-Cooper

Tiger’s Heart Sophie Okonedo seizes power as Queen Margaret in The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses



Welcome to Issue 10 of Shakespeare Magazine

Photo: David Hammonds

Yes, it’s been quite a while since the last issue. But I very much hope you’ll agree it’s been worth the wait. And what a pair of covers we’ve returned with – Benedict Cumberbatch and Sophie Okonedo in The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses.

With amazing performances from actors like Sophie and Ben, Series Two of The Hollow Crown is one of the biggest and best Shakespeare events of 2016. This is the year in which we reflect upon 400 years of the Bard’s legacy. All over the world people are celebrating the life and work of William Shakespeare. The contents of this issue represent just a few of the many wonderful things happening in many wonderful places, and I heartily recommend you check out what the BBC, the RSC, Shakespeare’s Globe and the Folger Library are doing. We can’t presume to know Shakespeare’s intimate thoughts, but he must surely have felt he’d done pretty well in life. We do know from his works that he had an inkling that some of his writing might live after him. But he certainly was not a legend in his own lifetime. No, the legend came later. But it would not have been possible if Shakespeare’s plays and poems had not stood – as they continue to stand – the test of time. That’s why we celebrate Shakespeare today, and every day. That’s why Shakespeare Magazine exists. Because his words speak to us, like a living entity, from 400 years ago. And they continue to empower and enrich our lives. Thank you, William. Enjoy your magazine. Pat Reid, Founder & Editor



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

Issue 10


Star Wars

“These aren’t the rude mechanicals you’re looking for…”

Macbeth King James, Shakespeare and the Witches’ tale

Globe Theatre

First Folio

Looking behind the scenes with Farah Karim-Cooper

Emma Smith explores the world’s most iconic book

Murder most foul Benedict Cumberbatch is Richard III in The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses

Shakespeare Magazine Issue Ten May 2016 Founder & Editor Pat Reid Art Editor Paul McIntyre Contributing Writers Brooke Thomas Lucy Corley Jenny Richardson Preti Taneja Thea Buckley Varsha Panjwani Koel Chatterjee Jon Kaneko-James Amy Smith Thank You Mary Reid Peter Robinson Laura Pachkowski Thomas Xavier Reid Real Design & Media Web Design David Hammonds Contact Us Facebook Twitter @UKShakespeare Website Newsletter




Crowning glory

An exclusive interview with Dominic Cooke, director of the BBC’s triumphant The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses.


Reign of Blood

From Henry VI to Richard III, a gallery of stunning images from The Hollow Crown 2.


Bollywood and the Bard


Think when we talk of jam jars

The women behind Indian Shakespeares on Screen choose XLIMV JEZSYVMXI ½PQW JSV YW.

TableTop Shakespeare: the ultraminimal take on the Bard that’s wowing audiences worldwide.


A Life less Ordinary



All the World’s a Globe


Confessions of a Witch


The Good Book


Stars, hide your fires

Melinda Hall talks about her inspirational web series How Shakespeare Changed My Life.

Delving into the fascinating work of top Shakespeare scholar Farah Karim-Cooper.

Emma Smith takes us on a guided tour through 400 years of Shakespeare’s First Folio.

Something wicked this way comes

Was Shakespeare’s Macbeth MR¾YIRGIH F] /MRK .EQIW ERH E notorious Scottish witch trial?

Actress Lynn Kennedy tells us about her supernatural role in last year’s Macbeth ½PQ.

Welcome to our favourite ;MPPMEQ 7LEOIWTIEVI WGM ½ ITMG Star Wars:The Force Doth Awaken.

Published in association with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

A beautifully illustrated, chronological journey through the gardens that Shakespeare owned, knew and visited

Now Available! Available from the Shakespeare Bookshop in Stratford-upon-Avon and from booksellers around the UK Or visit and

! The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses

Crowning 6



The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses


Stars of the Roses: (left-right) Gloucester (Hugh Bonneville), Queen Margaret (Sophie Okonedo), Richard III (Benedict Cumberbatch), Cecily (Judi Dench), Henry VI (Tom Sturridge).

Unleashed by the BBC in 2012, stellar series The Hollow Crown won Shakespeare a whole new army of converts. Four years later, and The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses looks set to reap another victory. Here, director Dominic Cooke tells us how he brought Shakespeare’s Henry VI and Richard III history plays to the screen. Interview by Pat Reid



! The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses The Hollow Crown director Dominic Cooke on location.

much started my career with Shakespeare. I was an Assistant Director at the RSC, where I worked with Peter Hall and Adrian Noble. Shakespeare is really behind everything I do. His work sets the bar in terms of its range, depth, technical brilliance and insight. No-one else comes near. What I’ve learned by working on Shakespeare I’ve taken with me in developing and directing new plays and staging other classics.” I’m really excited about your adaptation of the rarely-seen Henry VI plays. What were some of the challenges you faced in bringing them to the screen? You have a hugely impressive track record as a director of Shakespeare. Can you tell us about the path that has led you to The Hollow Crown?

“After the first series of The Hollow Crown, Sam Mendes and his colleagues at Neal Street Productions decided they wanted to simplify the process by having one director delivering all three films, and they asked me! I pretty

Dominic confers with Richard III (Benedict Cumberbatch) and attendant lords on XLI FEXXPI½IPH



“The first challenge was one of compression – how to turn three lengthy plays into two two-hour films. The second, in a set of plays with so many characters and stories, was about focus. The Henry VI plays are where Shakespeare learned his craft. The first of the plays is scattered and more about breadth than depth, problems that are typical of young playwrights. By the time he gets to Part 3, and then of course Richard III, he stakes his

The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses


Cumberbatch’s portrayal of Richard III explores the character’s many sides, including his prowess as a warrior.

“Shakespeare’s work is complex and sophisticated but also universal and accessible” SHAKESPEARE magazine


! The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses

territory as a storyteller with great confidence. We had to ensure that the focus of the story was clear from the start and remained clear all the way through.” You worked on the screenplays for the ‘Henrys’ – were you influenced by the controversial John Barton edits from the 1960s, or did you have another approach?

“I haven’t seen or read John Barton’s version. Ben Power and I took our own approach. In essence, we shaped the films retrospectively from the killing of the Princes in Richard III, and focussed on the gradual moral disintegration of England. For us, England is the central character, which is why the opening shot of the first film is the white cliffs of Dover. Through the four plays England has a kind of nervous breakdown until the healer, Richmond, appears and she finds her equilibrium again.” Inevitably, there’s global excitement about the presence of Benedict Cumberbatch. But first tell us about some of the other supremely weighty



Haters gonna hate: Dominic gives direction to mortal enemies Richard III (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Queen Margaret (Sophie Okonedo).

acting talent you’ve deployed in The Hollow Crown 2?

“Well, there’s a fantastic range in experience in the cast, from seasoned Shakespeareans like Judi Dench, Michael Gambon, Anton Lesser, Geoffrey Streatfeild and Ben Miles, to actors who’d worked more on screen, like Keeley Hawes, Adrian Dunbar and Tom Sturridge. Both complemented and learned from each other. I particularly enjoyed the way the Tom and Keeley brought experience in front of the camera together with a curiosity on how to do Shakespeare. You would never know that neither of them had acted in a Shakespeare play before.” We were blown away by the images of Sophie Okonedo as Queen Margaret in full battle armour,

“England has a kind of nervous breakdown until the healer, Richmond, appears”

The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses


“Shakespeare was a dramatist, not a documentary maker… Richard III explores Machiavellian ideas about power” brandishing a sword and wearing a royal crown. Tell us about her?

and the events of the plays?

“Margaret is a choric figure. She’s a protagonist but also a witness to the whole cycle. She starts as a young woman and ends as a battle-scarred survivor in her sixties who turns the tables on Richard. Sophie has access to Margaret’s range as a character – from the wild warrior to the wily politician.” The locations – including Dover Castle, Haddon Hall, Winchester and Wells – are almost as exciting as the cast. What were some of your favourites? And did you encounter many connections to Shakespeare

Shakespearean legend Judi Dench as Cecily, Duchess of York – the mother of both Edward IV and Richard III.

“It’s hard to choose one location above another. They were all very atmospheric and resonant. We spent a lot of time in Wells and at Haddon Hall, but shot in a number of different spaces in both locations. So for their variety those places really stay in the memory. There wasn’t a particular connection with Shakespeare en route, but we did shoot the murder of the Princes in the room where Edward II was killed [in Gloucestershire’s Berkeley Castle], and that connection felt very powerful.” King Richard III is still controversial today, with an army of fans who really hate Shakespeare’s play. What were your thoughts as you approached this episode?

“Shakespeare was a dramatist, not a documentary maker, and there is a fundamental difference between the responsibilities of art and journalism. With Richard he’s exploring Machiavellian ideas about power. All of Shakespeare’s history plays are sourced from chronicles which offer pretty sketchy views of history by today’s standards – and the Elizabethans did not have the same ideas about originality and authenticity as we do. The plays are full of elision, invention and downright fiction, and are among the best dramas ever written. They refer to history, but if you want an understanding of the ‘real’ people, you need to look elsewhere.” I’ve heard reports from the set that Benedict was a pleasure to work with, doing take after take in the battle scenes without complaint. How was he from a director’s point of view?

“Benedict was a total joy. He was inspired, very hard-working, hugely inventive and fun.” SHAKESPEARE magazine


! The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses

Apart from yourself, who were some of the biggest Shakespeare aficionados among the cast and crew?

“A lot of the crew were new to Shakespeare but many of the actors – such as James Fleet (Hastings), Sam West (Bishop of Winchester) and Ben Miles (Somerset) – were hugely knowledgeable.”

The trailer for The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses was as powerful and exciting as a new Star Wars or James Bond film. Were you on a mission in terms of ensuring high production values and reaching for the biggest possible audience?

“I tried my best to make films that were films rather than filmed plays. When I direct Shakespeare on stage, I imagine the audience has never seen the play – and it was the same with this project. It’s important to me that Shakespeare was a populist playwright. His work is complex and sophisticated but also universal and accessible. I aimed to allow for the richness of thought and language that is Shakespeare’s hallmark but make films that are dynamic and clear. I passionately believe that art can be simultaneously complex and accessible.”



Shakespeare’s Richard III is still controversial today. Devoted ‘Ricardians’ object to the Bard’s portrayal of Richard as the ultimate villain.

Finally, what was the most defining Shakespearean moment for you of the entire experience?

“There are three that spring to mind. The arrest of Humphrey (Duke of Gloucester) was one. It’s a great scene, combining the personal and political, public and private in a uniquely Shakespearean way. Hugh Bonneville was also magnificent in the scene. I also love the moment where the injured Clifford (Kyle Soller) begs first Richard then Henry to kill him and both refuse. The economy of the writing is incredible, as it exposes the essence of the two rulers – Richard is without any empathy and Henry has too much. “Finally, the speeches of the Son Who Kills His Father and the Father Who Kills His Son. It’s typical of Shakespeare that some of the key ideas and richest language in all four plays is spoken by unknown, unnamed, working class characters. A typically bold and egalitarian choice.”


The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses


Although the rightful monarch, Henry VI (Tom Sturridge) is woefully ill-equipped to rule.

Reign of Blood G A L L E RY

Series Two of The Hollow Crown has produced some of the most breath-taking Shakespeare images we’ve ever seen. Feast your eyes on this parade of Kings, Queens, heroes, villains, traitors and martyrs.



! The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses After marrying Henry, Margaret of Anjou (Sophie Okonedo) quickly reveals her strength and ambition.



The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses


Henry’s throne is usurped by Edward IV. But Edward’s brother Richard (Benedict Cumberbatch) also has his eyes on the crown.



! The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses

,IRV] ERH 1EVKEVIX ¾EROIH by powerful magnates the Bishop of Winchester (Samuel West) and Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester (Hugh Bonneville).

Humphrey’s wife Eleanor (Sally Hawkins) is arrested for practising witchcraft against Queen Margaret.



The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses


With England in turmoil, King Louis XI (Andrew Scott) consolidates his power in France.

Richard schemes against his brothers Edward and George in his bid to become King.



! The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses Laura Frances-Morgan as Joan La Pucelle (Joan of Arc). After the death of Henry V, she spearheads the French campaign to expel the English invaders.



The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses


Often portrayed as much older, Richard III was just 32 years old at the time of his death.



! The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses

8LI ½IV] 1EVKEVIX SJ %RNSY is famously described by her defeated adversary York with the words: “O tiger’s heart wrapt in a woman’s hide!”



Planning to perform a short selection from Shakespeare? The 30-Minute Shakespeare Anthology contains 18 abridged scenes, including monologues, from 18 of Shakespeare’s best-known plays. Every scene features interpretive stage directions and detailed performance and monologue notes, all “road tested” at the Folger Shakespeare Library’s annual Student Shakespeare Festival.

The 30-Minute Shakespeare Anthology includes one scene with monologue from each of these plays:

02!)3% &/2 4(% -).54% 3(!+%30%!2% 3%2)%3 “Lays the groundwork for a truly fun and sometimes magical experience, guided by a sagacious, knowledgeable, and intuitive educator. Newlin is a staunch advocate for students learning Shakespeare through performance.” —Library Journal


THE 30-MINUTE SHAKESPEARE is an acclaimed series of abridgments that tell the story of each play while keeping the beauty of

Shakespeare’s language intact. The scenes and monologues in this anthology have been selected with both teachers and students in mind, providing a complete toolkit for an unforgettable performance, audition, or competition.

NICK NEWLIN has performed a comedy and variety act for international audiences for more than 30 years. Since 1996, he has conducted an annual teaching artist residency with the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.

The 30-Minute Shakespeare series is available in print and ebook format at retailers and as downloadable PDFs from

! How Shakespeare Changed My Life “When actors include the audience every inch of the way, people leave the theatre knowing Shakespeare was written for them�

New York-based Melinda Hall is the driving force behind How Shakespeare Changed My Life.




How Shakespeare Changed My Life


Life less


The title really says it all for inspirational web series How Shakespeare Changed My Life, which features an impressive and diverse array of Shakespeareans explaining exactly that. Producer and director Melinda Hall told us all about her labour of love.

Interview by Pat Reid What first gave you the idea for this series, and how did you make it happen?

“Back in 2008, I was invited to the Gielgud Awards honoring Patrick Stewart. He told an interesting story of how he encountered Shakespeare when he was a kid, hearing his brother read Hamlet aloud, and he misunderstood some words. He thought his brother said: ‘Shov’lling off this mortal coal’, as spoken with his Yorkshire accent. And not

until years later did he realize Hamlet was not talking about coal but rather ‘Shuffling off this mortal coil’ and its meaning. This piqued my interest about how the fascination of Shakespeare can bloom in a surprising way. I thought there must be others that have a ‘pivotal moment’ Shakespeare story and that’s how the project started. Oddly, I never managed to connect with Sir Patrick to have him sit down for HSCML, but I would love to do that if he ever has the time.” SHAKESPEARE magazine


! How Shakespeare Changed My Life The first episode I saw was Sir Ben Kingsley – which was setting the bar pretty high. Were you confident that all your interviewees would be every bit as captivating?


“In May I will be speaking at the “In truth, Ray Bradbury was my first interview, Morbid Anatomy Museum in because in 2001 I had been a producer of a Brooklyn at an event I created couple of Ray’s plays in Los Angeles. In 2009, called Shakespeare’s Funeral. when I asked Ray if he wanted to talk about I’ll be speaking about the dead Shakespeare he agreed. But when I got to his characters in the plays and I’ll have a slideshow of art and house that day, he only wanted me to tape photos of the portrayals of the him for five minutes and then he told me to characters by actors through the shut the camera off – but after I shut it off, he ages. I’ve been doing my research at the New York started to tell a great story. How I wish I could Public Library and the Folger Shakespeare Library in have had the impudence to defy him and flip Washington DC, and it is fascinating.We are inviting the camera back on. But I didn’t, alas. the audience to come dressed as their favorite Dead “Altogether I interviewed about 38 people Shakespearean Character and after my talk there will and the first 19 mini-episodes you see online be live music for the reception.Who knows, maybe are cut from seven subjects. There will be more we’ll even find Shakespeare’s skull that night.” to come later in the year. “The call I received when Sir Ben agreed to More info here be a part of the project astounded me because I had not met him, but his publicist had kindly passed on my request. When she called me to Were you prepared for the tell me a date to interview him, she said I had near-religious fervour towards to meet him at the location in Stratford so he Shakespeare that some of the could show me the exact place of his pivotal interviewees would possess? moment. I said yes, and then on a cold January “There is no doubt I possess the same devotion day in 2010 we went to the RSC and I got to to Shakespeare, and hearing the stories of Legendary US author hear about his passionate and personal life with Ray Bradbury appears others confirmed that there is a particular bond Shakespeare.” among us who value Shakespeare highly. So, in the web series. no, it didn’t surprise me but rather comforted me to meet others who are equally ‘possessed’.” All the interviews I’ve seen have been with men – can you tell us some of the female Shakespeareans on your wish list?

“The low percentage of participation of women was a part of the process I did not expect. There are a few interviews that are coming in future episodes like the Czech Holocaust survivor Eva Rocek, actress and director Estelle Parsons and actress Brenda Strong, to name a few, but it was very difficult to even get a message to a female star. I tried all the big names you can imagine and their agents/publicists either refused or never responded.



How Shakespeare Changed My Life

“One agent’s assistant for a supremely talented actress (that everyone loves) did take my call but he heartily laughed when I said the interview didn’t really pay and it was educational. As he laughed, I chuckled too, because from his POV it must have seemed ridiculous. But I have hope that I can try again now that the series is out – so the talent can see what it is and make some time to grant me an interview. I want to point out that there is only a small percentage of female directors in both film and stage, and being allowed an opportunity to build credits is vital. So I thank the cast that did believe in me and gave me a chance to prove myself.”

“Hearing the stories of others confirmed that there is a particular bond among us who value Shakespeare highly” him someday. I am grateful to his high school for giving us that photo of him as Bottom. Even though he usually plays so expertly in heavy, serious drama, it would be wonderful to see him as a clown one day.”

I was familiar with Liev Schreiber as a screen actor, but didn’t know about his stage work. His clips are a very interesting mixture of big ideas about what Shakespeare means and useful tips about the nitty-gritty of performance…

“Liev Schreiber is such an intelligent, dedicated actor, and a gifted leader in the way he talks about Shakespeare. I hope when he returns to Broadway or if he plays London you can see


Overall, the series vividly illustrates the fact that there’s a huge amount to be said about Shakespeare. Was there one phrase or moment that really summed it all up for you?

US screen star Liev Schreiber reveals his Shakespearean acting pedigree in the series.

“Yes, the line from Henry V: ‘All things are ready, if our minds be so’. The truth is I had no budget, no funds, no clout as a filmmaker, but somehow my mind was ready to invite and create. It took a very long time, and the business changed drastically in the last six years of how people get entertainment content. But I am pleased the series is available and will now find the audience it deserves. Maybe a more apt quote is: ‘Perseverance, dear my Pat, keeps honor bright’.” I have to ask, were the interview responses entirely unscripted? They flow so trippingly on the tongue, with so few edits, that they often achieve a wonderful soliloquy-like effect...

“Thank you for the compliment and no, we didn’t rehearse or have a script. But I did tell the subject in advance I wanted to hear of a pivotal moment when Shakespeare literally changed their life. That was really the only prerequisite to book the interview.”

I wasn’t so familiar with the name Jim Beaver – although I must have seen him on both the big and small screen. His account of discovering the



! How Shakespeare Changed My Life “When I saw Earle Hyman play King Lear, I had never seen anyone so completely inhabit a character” Bard during the Vietnam war while he was serving with the Marines – that was such a powerful affirmation that Shakespeare did indeed change his life…

“Jim is a wonderful actor and author. His book Life’s That Way is his personal story of when he lost his wife to cancer. I’d like to direct him in Shakespeare some day, if ever his schedule would permit. He would be a terrific Falstaff.” And there’s a parallel with the great James Earl Jones, who took a volume of Shakespeare with him into the army, having already learned about it as a boy. It’s very interesting how James moves from discussing



King Lear and Othello to those formative memories of his maternal grandmother...

“James Earl is also a sensitive soul and his attachment to Shakespeare and great writers is inspiring. He has had quite an unusual life and he is one of the most gracious people I’ve ever known. His father was also a terrific actor and JEJ met his beautiful wife when they played in Othello together, so Shakespeare is in his blood.” Earle Hyman, the first AfricanAmerican actor to play Shakespeare’s big four tragic leads, provides a living history lesson, and also a classic Shakespearean stage mishap anecdote...

Melinda with veteran actor Earle Hayman, and Earle as Othello, on the cover of JET magazine in 1962.

“Earle is in a nursing home and I would like his life with Shakespeare to be more well known. Yes, we know about Ira Aldridge and Paul Robeson, but before James Earl Jones, Earle Hyman was enchanting audiences and delivering Shakespeare in both English and

How Shakespeare Changed My Life

Norwegian when he lived in Norway for many years. When I saw him play King Lear in 1988, I was riveted. I had never seen anyone so completely inhabit a character before. That night, the play ended, the people filed out, and I was stuck on the bench completely frozen. I didn’t faint like Sir Ben watching Sir Ian Holm, but it changed the course of my life and made me want to learn more about Shakespeare. Two years later, I met Earle by chance in a dance bookshop near Lincoln Center. I told him how much I admired his work and he invited me to see a show he was doing at the Public Theater. I went, and we’ve been Shakespeare family ever since.”

Forget a forced director-imposed ‘concept’ and just pay attention to the play. When I see actors employ fourth wall technique and ignore a slumbering audience in the dark, my blood boils. But when actors use direct address and include the audience every inch of the way, people leave the theatre knowing Shakespeare was written for them. “To summarize, yes, Shakespeare is universal and people from many cultures connect to Shakespeare. But I think people look to Shakespeare to see themselves in the characters and the plots. We have a keen drive to know ourselves, and Shakespeare allows that ‘mirror up to Nature’ where we do that. We can recognize parts of ourselves that may be hidden, and we can share as an audience a communal experience as reflected in the characters.”

You’ve already told us how Shakespeare changed your own life – can you tell us some of the other things you’ve learned?

“The many things I’ve learned about Shakespeare could seem obvious but I’ll share them anyway. Firstly, the audience is the most important element in a Shakespeare play.


Melinda (top right) takes the mic at the Central Park Sonnet Slam in New York.


SONNET SLAM “On 22 April, my company Willful Pictures produced the sixth Annual Shakespeare’s Birthday Sonnet Slam in Central Park in NYC. Basically, I ask 154 readers of all ages to come together and read all 154 Shakespearean sonnets on the Naumburg Bandshell stage. I started the Sonnet Slam because I wanted a Shakespearean event to be inclusive of various ages, ethnicities, abilities and points of view. The only requirement is to show up and have courage to speak your sonnet.There are some actors that take part, but mostly the readers are ordinary people who share the love of Shakespeare – and for one day they get to do it their way.” More info here



Hour-Long Shakespeare expertly abridged for performance and as an introduction to Shakespeare’s greatest plays

Henry IV, Part 1, Henry V AND Richard III VOL TWO Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth AND Julius Caesar VOL ONE

‘Matthew Jenkinson’s careful alterations of some of Shakespeare’s most important plays may give us less than 50% of each play’s lines, but they convey far more than that percentage of each play’s theatrical power. Moreover, they belong 100% to the highest traditions of both teaching and performing Shakespeare’s plays’. Professor Michael Dobson, Director of the Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-uponAvon, and Professor of Shakespeare Studies, University of Birmingham

Order now from Coming soon: Vol 3: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night and The Tempest

Please donate

A personal appeal from Shakespeare Magazine’s Founder & Editor Pat Reid At last! A magazine with all the Will in the world

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

SHAKESPEARE SHAKESPEARE Ֆ Celebrating 450 years of the English language’s greatest-ever wordsmith Ֆ

Launch issue

" Character'd on thy skin..."

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

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

Issue 4

Issue 5

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



Hamlet Alone?

Blood meets ink in the world of Shakespeare Tattoos

Tom Hiddleston

Benedict Cumberbatch

Martin Freeman

Why his new book is a love letter to Falstaff, Stratford and Shakespeare


Richard III

Golden Virginia

Off with their heads!

A double bill of the Bard in sunny Sydney

King David From Doctor Who to Hamlet and Richard II, David Tennant is a 21st century Shakespeare superstar!

Great Shakespeare actors

Art thou Grumio?

don Lon alling Set in stone Five great exclusive C Muse of Fire Shakespeare interviews! Coriolanus

Join us on a trip to the American Shakespeare Center

Shakespeare and the Tower of London

Why the city that made Shakespeare still rocks the world

Two men. One epic journey. How Giles and Dan made the ultimate Shakespeare documentary!

“For two years, now Shakespeare Magazine has been produced on a micro-budget from a bedroom in Bristol, England. Although we generate some revenue from advertising, it’s not enough to keep KSMRK MRHI½RMXIP] %RH WS -´Q EWOMRK ]SY our readers, to make a small contribution – whatever you can afford – to help us continue.


Antony Sher

Exploding the myth of “To be or not to be…”

Aussie Rules Shakespeare!

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

Big Books Giveaway!

Our college girl takes on The Taming of the Shrew

Brilliant Bard Books up for grabs inside!

Shakespeare Hero Ben Crystal Clever Comedian Sara Pascoe The Tutor novelist Andrea Chapin Kill Shakespeare’s Anthony Del Col Superteacher Phil Beadle meets Bard Evangelist Ben Walden Ֆ


Stanley Wells tells us what it takes to make a Shakespeare superstar

From Russia with love

David Tennant fans create their own edition of Richard II

My Shakespeare

Behind the scenes of the stellar documentary series


Shakespeare in Turkey As You Like It The Essex Plot Shakespearean Opera

Issue 7

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

Issue 8


Painting the Bard

Native Tongues

The haunting Shakespeare art of Rosalind Lyons

The sound of Shakespeare in Scotland

Sweet Home

Screen Savers

Shakespeare’s Stratford-uponAvon: it’s our essential guide!


Video Games: The future of Shakespeare?

Shakespeare’s hottest ticket: BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH is Burning at the Barbican

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“Shakespeare is England’s greatest gift to XLI [SVPH ERH - XLMRO MX WLSYPH FI E JVII ±8MQIW EVI XSYKL XLIVI EVI WS QER] ½RERGMEP gift. With your help, we’ll be able to keep HIQERHW SR YW EPP ERH - ORS[ XLMW MW E PSX XS Shakespeare Magazine completely free – for ask. And yet, if each Shakespeare Magazine everyone, and forever.” reader donates the equivalent of just £1 (GBP), that would be enough to keep the -J ]SY LEZI ER] UYIWXMSRW SV [SYPH PMOI magazine moving forward for two whole more information, please email: years.

Donate here Thank you! Our heartfelt gratitude to… Mary R, Peter R, Cathy K, Cristina T, Emma W, David H, Jennifer S, Natalie S, Andrea R, Stuart R, Stephen C, Nataly B, Alessandra B, Nigel H, Kirsten K, Faye J, Sylvia W, Stephanie S, Elizabeth P, )PM^EFIXL ' -VE > %PMGNE ( 1SVMEL 7 7LIPPM ) /EVIR 1 1EVMZM 7 Donna J, Lauren F, Melodie S, Kartika S, Anastasia K, Michele H, Elizabeth W, Sarena N, Sam F, Susan C, John D, Sabine S, Andrea C, Christopher W, Teresa L, Jules R, Jon-Michael L, Cynthia R, Mary P, Earleen T, Claudia W, Lorena S, Linda A, Eeva T, Linda C, Shaun T.

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




Annus Horribilis

From Henry V to Coriolanus: Say Hello to Shakespeare’s Secret Weapon!

James Shapiro on 1606: William Shakespeare and the Year of Lear

issue MA Special ARE AT THE CINE



Coriolanus n Hiddlesto finds his killer instinct


A movie epic with er Michael Fassbend and Marion Cotillard


Shakespearean comedy from the crew Horrible Histories



Benedict Cumberbatch on the big screen!

! Farah Karim-Cooper On top of the Globe: Dr Farah Karim-Cooper is Head of Higher Education and Research at Shakespeare’s Globe. Photo by Bronwen Sharp

“The fight Sam Wanamaker had to reconstruct the Globe suggests there was an anxiety about memorialising Shakespeare in the ’70s and ’80s” 30


Farah Karim-Cooper


All the

World’s a Globe One of London’s leading Shakespeare scholars, Dr Farah Karim-Cooper talks Shakespeare Studies, Globe Education and the labour of love that was the building of the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse.

Photo: John Tramper

Interview by Jenny Richardson



! Farah Karim-Cooper

The world-famous ‘Groundlings’ watching a play from the yard at Shakespeare’s Globe. Photo: Manuel Harlan

Shakespeare’. They were perhaps a bit twee by some standards, but they did some fabulous productions and there were memorable “My passion for Shakespeare was sparked by performances. This small theatre company a wonderful professor I had back in the US at made me realise simply reading Shakespeare California State University, Fullerton. Teachers, just wasn’t enough any more.” whether in school or university, can make or break Shakespeare for students. I knew that I You’re from the USA originally, but loved literature, which is why I was an English came to do your MA in London. Is major, but this professor made me see the there a difference in how Shakespeare feminist Shakespeare and Shakespeare the is approached in the two countries? theatre maker. That is why I started going to “There is very little difference philosophically performances. speaking – perhaps Americans are less “As an undergraduate studying English, anxious about Shakespeare’s canonical status. going to the theatre wasn’t the most obvious The study of Shakespeare is mandatory in thing to do. But I became an avid follower schools across the USA, which means we of a theatre company operating out of obviously think he’s important enough for Orange County, California – called ‘Orange every American to read him at least once in their youth. The Shakespeare Association of America (an association for professional Shakespeare scholars and teachers) has been going strong for over 40 years. Whereas when I first moved to this country 20 years ago, there was no British Shakespeare Association. The fight the American Sam Wanamaker had to reconstruct the Globe on Bankside What first sparked your passion for Shakespearean theatre and performance?

“The human hand was an important register for identity in Shakespeare’s time” 32


Farah Karim-Cooper

suggests there was perhaps a palpable anxiety about memorialising Shakespeare in the ’70s and ’80s, particularly through a reconstructed Elizabethan amphitheatre. “But more important than a comparison between Anglo/American approaches is that Shakespeare is a global phenomenon. The word ‘global’ is hotly debated in Shakespeare studies, but here I mean ‘of the world’. His work has been translated into so many different languages, his plays performed and taught in schools all across the world. He isn’t just British any more, nor is he American. No one culture can claim the works of Shakespeare, even if past generations have tried to do so. His work has a cultural chameleonism that makes it vibrant, urgent and thrilling in every decade, everywhere. I find this reassuring.” You’re Head of Higher Education and Research at Shakespeare’s Globe. What does your role involve?

“I am based in Globe Education, which was founded in 1989, before the Globe was even

A Midsummer Night’s Dream by (I½RMXIP] 8LIEXVI at Shakespeare’s Globe. Photo: Simon Kane


built. The department has three specialisms – Learning, Public Programming and Higher Education & Research. We have a dedicated Higher Education program and run many courses for undergraduates, postgraduates, drama school students and professional actors. We work with universities and drama schools across the UK and the world, partnering up to create bespoke courses that focus on Shakespeare in performance, music, Globe performance practice, theatre history, indoor playing and early modern drama. “Our flagship conservatory training course is our BFA and MFA programme we run with Rutgers University, New Jersey. The actors come and train with our faculty for an academic year and perform a showcase on the Globe stage before returning to Rutgers to complete their final year. We are also proud of our long collaboration with King’s College London, the MA in Shakespeare Studies. As co-director of this programme I am responsible for the Globe modules and coteach those with my colleague Dr Will Tosh. So I oversee all of this work with the help of a fabulous higher education administration team. Research also sits in the Education department but is central to the operations of Shakespeare’s Globe as a whole. “The Globe was reconstructed because of the importance and value Sam Wanamaker placed on academic research, so it has always had a place in the organisation. We run research projects into early modern theatres and theatre practice, and we oversee the conservation and development of the Globe Theatre and the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse through the Architecture Research Group, which I chair. “The last major project we worked on as a group was advising the design and construction of the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. Globe Research also helps the exhibition department develop content – we work with the actors and directors in rehearsals through research dramaturgy. And we are sometimes called on to advise external Shakespeare projects or creative initiatives.” SHAKESPEARE magazine


! Farah Karim-Cooper The Globe’s postgraduate course offers a unique opportunity to study the plays of Shakespeare in a theatrical context in the heart of London…

“The location really situates Shakespeare’s work in London. We are good friends with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, and its Head of Research, Rev. Dr Paul Edmondson, and I playfully refer to each other as ‘Cousin Stratford’ and ‘Cousin London’, respectively – because, at the Globe, we see ourselves as the ‘workplace trust’ in some ways. We ask our students to think about the location of the amphitheatres and the indoor playhouses of the period; to consider the theatre industry in London and how its conditions produced these plays in the form we have them in now. “We want them to think about the vast numbers of audiences from the full range of demographics that came to the amphitheatres in 1600. We encourage them to question and challenge the master narratives and assumptions that bardolatrous Shakespeare teaching has drummed into peoples’ minds over the last three centuries. For example, I work hard to break apart the image of Shakespeare as a lone author with quill in hand, so our students can view him as a man of the theatre taking part in a dynamic, fluid and collaborative process. “Being in London and walking over the archaeological ruins at the Rose Theatre site forces students to think about the tangibility of these theatres, which is also helped when they see the objects found at the sites of the Rose and Globe by the Museum of London. Our own Globe Theatre and Sam Wanamaker Playhouse are invaluable research tools for the students as well, who in addition to being able to see productions in them, can also go on stage and test their own theories about early modern performance. Being able to see Shakespeare in the impressive number of London theatres now, and take part in the range of academic seminars, conferences and events that London has to offer are crucial added bonuses.”



The exquisite Sam Wanamaker Playhouse is perfect for staging Shakespeare’s later works. Photo: Pete Le May

You led the research team throughout the design and construction of the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. Tell us about that?

“This was probably the most exciting project I have ever worked on, and I feel a bit sad that the theatre is built and open because I miss working on it! As Chair of the Globe’s Architecture Research Group, my job was to collate the research into indoor theatres of the 17th century, to commission new research and to bring my own research to bear upon the project. We have an extraordinary group of academics, theatre practitioners and professional architects on the committee, many of whom were involved in the reconstruction of the Globe Theatre, such as the founding Director of Globe Research, Andrew Gurr. “We had to resolve the problems presented

“No one culture can claim the works of Shakespeare, even if past generations have tried”

Farah Karim-Cooper


“Something interesting does happen when plays like The Tempest are performed indoors” by the building we had on site (the ‘Inigo Jones’ theatre) and the new research that Inigo Jones was not the designer of the Worcester College Drawings (the plans of a 17th century theatre the playhouse is based upon), nor were they dated to 1616. So we had to reconcile this with the Globe’s mission to build and perform in spaces Shakespeare would be familiar with. “We decided therefore to use the plans of the auditorium as a spatial map to shape our theatre space. We then had to imagine ourselves as Jacobean theatre builders as we set out to build an archetype of an indoor Jacobean playhouse. As such, the evidence that

To Farah, the term Global Shakespeare means the Bard is “of the world”. Photo: Bronwen Sharp

came in handy was not only documentary evidence, but also tangible Jacobean buildings that still existed. The plays written for indoor theatres such as St Paul’s, Whitefriars, the Blackfriars, and the Cockpit also became important pieces of evidence to tell us about the shape, acoustic, visual atmosphere, number of doors needed etc. of the playhouse. It was a very rigorous process and took a lot of collaboration and co-operation between architects, timber craftsmen, theatre artists, Shakespeare scholars and theatre historians! “I was also appointed co-project manager with Neil Constable (CEO), Dominic Dromgoole (Artistic Director) and Patrick Spottiswoode (Director, Globe Education) and this meant a lot to me, as it suggested that the historical integrity of the new playhouse was as important as its cost and how the theatre would eventually be used. We had an extraordinary Project co-ordinator, Paul Russell, who liaised between the academics, the project management team, the electrical engineers, the London fire authorities and the builders. “It was great fun conducting candlelight experiments with him and Professor Martin White, who advised us about early modern lighting technology. I could go on forever about this project. But the most thrilling moment for me was the first show in there, The Duchess of Malfi by John Webster, directed by Dominic. I still remember my heart beating wildly as I stepped into the candlelit space and saw Gemma Arterton eloquently performing on the stage I helped to design and build. Enough said.” Your book Moving Shakespeare Indoors discusses the late Jacobean shift to a different style of theatre and the effects that this more intimate



! Farah Karim-Cooper staging had on Shakespeare’s work. Are there any plays you think are demonstrative of this?

“Shakespeare’s plays can be lifted out of the theatres they were written for and performed anywhere, as we all know. But something interesting does happen when plays like The Winter’s Tale and The Tempest – probably written for the Blackfriars Theatre but also performed at the Globe – are performed indoors. The plays do require a more considered concentration of intimacy and privacy. Objects in smaller spaces take on more meaning, so the way props and special effects are written into the play can tell us something about the space the playwright was thinking of when he wrote it. “Certainly, the darkness in The Duchess of Malfi created a startling and surprising sensation of horror and anxiety in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse production. But we know it was also performed at the Globe by the King’s Men. I imagine the effects would have been rather different though – the outdoor space requiring audience participation in theatrical illusion, the indoor space being able to make illusion less implausible, more effective. Enough so to take the audience by surprise, by plunging them into complete darkness for example!” What can we expect from your forthcoming book?

“My book is called The Hand on the Shakespearean Stage: Gesture, Touch and the Spectacle of Dismemberment. It is about how the human hand was an important register for identity and selfhood in Shakespeare’s time. I suggest that the way actors gestured in the commercial theatres of London depended upon a number of factors, such as the type of theatre, costume, genre and skill of the actor. The book reflects on the way Shakespeare describes or has his characters describe and annotate gestures, and asks why important emotional gestural exchanges are often reported, rather than staged – such as Ophelia’s report of Hamlet entering into her chamber: ‘He took me by the wrist and held me hard’.



The iconic exterior of Shakespeare’s Globe on London’s Bankside. Photo: John Wildgoose

“There is a chapter on touch in Romeo and Juliet and Othello, and the final chapter considers the concept of amputation, how realistically it might have been staged and what the cultural and iconographic context of such violent scenes might have been. You can probably guess that Titus Andronicus is an important play in this book!”


Read the full version of this interview on

More on Farah’s work with Globe Education. Order Farah’s new book, The Hand on the Shakespearean Stage.

‘INTRIGUING!’ Ia n Mc K e l l e n

‘SPLENDID AND O U T R AG E O U S ! ’ Professor Michael Dobson, director of the S h a k e s p e a r e In s t i t u t e

‘A B O O Z Y, B A R DY DELIGHT!’ Metro


The Drowning Ophelia Like many Shakespeareans, we’re curious about the sketchy circumstances of Ophelia’s death. So many questions are left unanswered: Did she kill herself because she was heartbroken? Was she so distressed about her father’s murder that she lost her mind and thought her dress was a boat? Or was she just a klutz “clambering� up a tree to hang flower garlands? We’ll never know for sure, but we think she’d appreciate this pretty blue cocktail garnished with edible flowers. It may not have saved her in the end, but it definitely would have made those last moments less of a drag.


ħ 0HWKRG ħ

Edible flowers 1 egg white Dusting of sugar 1oz vodka Ÿ oz blue curaçao ž oz St. Germain elderflower liqueur Juice of ½ lemon

Prepare the edible flowers beforehand by lightly brushing them with egg white. Dust with sugar, shaking off any excess. Allow to dry. Shake all the liquid ingredients together with ice. Strain and pour into a martini glass. Garnish with the flowers.

! Emma Smith: First Folio



Emma Smith: First Folio

The 1623 First Folio of Shakespeare’s Works. Professor Emma Smith recently authenticated a Folio discovered on the Scottish Isle of Bute.





The brilliant Emma Smith has recently published three excellent Shakespeare books in rapid succession. Here, we quiz her about just one of them – the very timely Shakespeare’s First Folio: Four Centuries of an Iconic Book.

Interview by Pat Reid

people have used and valued the book in different ways over the intervening time. So in some ways this is a history of Shakespeare’s reception, but it isn’t about how his works transcended their original form in the First Folio – quite “I’m trying to follow individual copies the opposite. It’s about how this book and their itineraries over the last four moved around, meant different things centuries – both as individual journeys and carried different forms of value and as examples of the broader at various times and for a range of fortunes of this book. So I start with people.” its ‘birthday’ – the first time we know someone bought it, in December Your book opens with a 1623 – and follow the ways different remarkable account of the Your book has been described as a biography, which gives the sense of the Folio as a living entity. Can you tell me some of the ways you’re exploring this theme?



! Emma Smith: First Folio very first known purchaser of a Folio, the young Sir Edward Dering. A bit like viewing someone’s internet search history today, you deduce a great deal about him based on the huge amount of things he buys. What do you think his Folio meant to him?

“I became really fascinated by Edward Dering – he’s a young man who has inherited an estate at Surenden Dering in Kent (the house burnt down in the 1950s) and who is working hard to network in the circle around his wife’s kinsman the Duke of Buckingham. It’s a whirligig of entertaining, meeting people and buying fashionable clothes, in which theatre-going and playbook buying are important elements. “He also buys books on government and politics – he is an ambitious guy. But he’s also likeable. He’s the kind of person whose response to a new situation is to read a book about it, so he buys a book on childbirth when his wife is pregnant, and he buys books on gardening and tree-grafting as he’s trying to set out a new garden on his estate. “He obviously loves his son and is always buying him toys and little minime outfits. So I think the Folio partly spoke to his interest in theatre, and to his interest in fashionable new things. It’s telling that he buys it almost immediately it hits the bookstalls. But it also seems like one of the items he wants to corroborate his own identity – and in that, he anticipates lots of later owners too.”

Have you spent a lot of time handling First Folios? What do they feel like? And what are they like as a reading experience?

The First Folio really seems to have been built to last. Have any other books from the era survived in such large numbers? Or is this something special about the Folio?

“It’s true that the First Folio isn’t rare by early modern book standards – more than 230 extant copies. But it’s also true that we know more about it than any other book. The impulse to catalogue every extant example begins in the early 19th century and there’s been a new census every hundred or so years, most recently Eric Rasmussen and Anthony West’s in 2012. So what’s actually special is that we have put lots of value on this book and as a result we have a clear sense of the extant copies. It tells us something about its importance not its particular hardwearingness.”

“There are three states of the Droeshout engraving – it’s clear that it was both important, and difficult, to get it quite right” 40


“I’ve been lucky enough to handle almost a hundred copies in the course of my research. It’s incredibly exciting to open the cover for the first time and find out what’s inside. They vary in size because of different bindings. Some are very fragile and some have been heavily restored, some pages are quite crisp and others rather worn, soft and stained. Of course they are now a rather unwieldy reading experience – not least because librarians and owners, understandably, are very protective of them. In the Kodama Shakespeare Library in Meisei, Japan, for instance, I had to wear a face mask while reading!” The famous Droeshout engraving of Shakespeare in the First Folio has been much maligned over the years, but is possibly the most iconic English artwork ever. What do you think and feel when you look at it?

“It’s a really interesting question because while it’s the element of the First Folio that is most instantly recognisable, it’s probably the bit that is missing or not-original in the majority of copies. That’s to say, most extant First Folios have a later title page pasted in, or one from another copy, or a facsimile. “There are three states of the Droeshout engraving – it’s clear that it was both important, and difficult, to get it quite right. I also became fascinated by the way this image gets analysed in the early twentieth century, where it is read as a clue that Shakespeare did not write these works. Sir Edwin Durning-Lawrence, a prominent Baconian and First Folio

Emma Smith: First Folio


Would it be possible to actually forge a First Folio?

“In the Victorian period a wonderful artisan called John Harris, who worked for a number of private libraries and for the British Museum, specialised in ‘perfecting’ copies and in providing pen (and sometimes lithographed) facsimiles in rare books, including the First Folio. There’s a great story that the British Museum realised they couldn’t distinguish ‘Harris facsimiles’ and asked him to check and identify them all, and from then on to sign with his initials when he provided a replacement page. There are a number of First Folio copies with tiny JH or IH initials, but my suspicion is that there are a lot more that include Harris’s unmarked work. I don’t now think it would be very easy to forge a First Folio, but most copies that exist are actually made-up of a mixture of original, borrowed, and facsimile leaves.” You’ve written extensively about Shakespeare myths. Are there any particularly beguiling myths attached to the First Folio?

“One of the myths I’ve really enjoyed owner, published lots of pamphlets quarto would not have been preserved is the idea that details about the before the First World War arguing for posterity. We do tend to think that, First Folio, including its spelling, that the portrait was so clumsy as a although it’s worth remembering that punctuation, and page numbering, sign that the author-figure was a sham. the last of Shakespeare’s plays to be are actually an elaborate cipher placed In one wonderful example he solicits published in a solo edition was only there by the true author of the plays, support from the tailors’ guild to give the year before the First Folio (Othello, Francis Bacon. It sounds mad, but for their professional opinion on whether in 1622), so maybe others would 30 years – and moreover, for the 30 the doublet has two left arms!” have followed. But it is true that the years in which First Folios changed Folio has contributed to Shakespeare’s hands most frequently and their price If the 1623 Folio had never dominance, and to a silencing of sky-rocketed – it was probably the been published, what do you discussions about Shakespeare as a dominant understanding of the value think we would be talking collaborative writer from which we are of the First Folio.” about in a conversation about only just beginning to emerge.” Early Modern Theatre?

“Wow. Well, that depends whether you think that if the First Folio hadn’t been published, then the Shakespeare plays that had not been published in

First Folios are now valued at millions of pounds, which has presumably led to criminals getting interested in them.

What do you think happened to the missing pages of the St Omer Folio discovered in France in 2014?

“Great question. It may be that some SHAKESPEARE magazine


! Emma Smith: First Folio “It’s about how this book moved around, meant different things and carried different forms of value at various times and for a range of people” of the plays were detached to make them easier to use as performance scripts – we know that the Jesuit schools were very interested in performance, particularly of histories and historical tragedy. Many extant First Folios have substantial numbers of missing pages, or replacement pages.” I think I learned this from one of your lectures: people purchased printed versions of plays so they could copy instructive lines into their commonplace books. Did a book like the Folio signal a change in the way people thought about play texts?

“Commonplacing – identifying pithy, well-expressed, or morally or philosophically meaningful sentences from your reading – was the dominant reading mode for the 17th century. The earliest readers of Shakespeare’s First Folio have underlined commonplaces, or marked them with a cross or a pointing hand symbol (the manicule). I don’t think the Folio did encourage more serial or holistic reading. Lots of the marks, for instance, are focused on a single opening rather than the whole play and almost no-one, except William Johnstone, a Scottish reader whose copy is now in Meisei, marked up the whole book systematically. One of the things I enjoyed was the marks on the catalogue page which seemed to suggest how many of the plays



I’m amazed that, before its publication, the First Folio was advertised at the Frankfurt Book Fair – a trade event that is still running today. What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned through your exploration of the First Folio?

“The best thing has been meeting a whole cast of post-Shakespeare people could tick off – almost no copy characters, such as Thomas and has all the plays marked in this way. Isabella Hervey of Ickworth in Suffolk. Shakespeare’s plays were always hard Thomas knew Pepys in the 1670s, going, and people cherrypicked.” and he and Isabella had an apparently very loving marriage which included How do you feel about the reading together and marking their Folger Shakespeare Library in library with their joint names. Their Washington DC and the special heavily marked First Folio is now in relationship between the First Japan. Folio and the USA? “Or the young student Gladwyn “There are over 80 copies of the First Turbutt, who in 1905 brought back Folio in the Folger, testament to the to Oxford’s Bodleian Library a copy of particular collecting passion of its the First Folio that had been missing founder, Henry Folger. Anyone who for 250 years, and was later killed at works on the First Folio is dependent the Somme.” on the Folger’s long and generous support for scholarship – and the story of Folger and his library is itself a fantastic chapter in the biography of the First Folio. In my book, though, I wanted to look more widely at some Shakespeare’s First Folio: Four of the other copies that haven’t had so Centuries of an Iconic Book is much attention, and to spend time published by Oxford University travelling around to collections with Press in March 2016 single copies of the First Folio – in the UK, in Europe, and in Japan and New Zealand in particular. “I wanted the Folger to be part of the story, not the story, and I wanted the freedom to point out that much of Folger’s collecting was actually obsessive, seemed to contemporaries – the plan for the library was not made public until just before his death – selfishly restricting access to these iconic books, and raised the price to extraordinary levels. I also suggest that Folger was not immune to the lure of Baconian theories himself.”


! Indian Shakespeares



Indian Shakespeares


The Indian Shakespeares On Screen festival took place in London last month. We asked the four organisers to choose their all-time favourite Indian Shakespeare movie adapatations‌



! Indian Shakespeares Hamlet in Kashmir: Shahid Kapoor stars in the title role of Haider.



Vishal Bhardwaj’s adaptation of Hamlet “In a time of rising religious and patriotic Hindu fundamentalism in India, how did Haider ever get permission to be made? And how did it pass the notorious eye of the Indian censor? Those were the questions I couldn’t wait to ask director Vishal Bhardwaj and co-writer Basharat Peer at Indian Shakespeares On Screen. “Set in Kashmir at the height of the conflict of the 1990s, Haider is deeply critical of British colonialism and the pernicious license it allows Indian structures of power. The once colonized have become the masters here, as the film’s tight focus on a handful of Kashmiri Muslim lives shows. “The tragedy of good men disappearing, brothers being set against one another, overt

“Snow falls like confetti on lovers, weeps over disappeared bodies and smothers grief ” 46


violence and insidious paranoia are set against the austere beauty of war-torn Srinagar. Silencing is a key theme: snow falls like confetti on lovers, weeps over disappeared bodies, hides terror and smothers grief. Language is twisted as the people struggle to voice the trauma of subjugation. “Bhardwaj draws on the poetry of Gulzar and the skeleton of Hamlet to create a film that is complex, thrilling, wry, poignant and political all at once. For me, Haider sets a gold standard for the cinematic language of Indian Shakespeares on screen.”

Chosen by Dr Preti Taneja, University of Warwick and Queen Mary, University of London

Indian Shakespeares



The Play of God, Jayaraj Rajasekharan Nair’s adaptation of Othello “In Kaliyattam, the award-winning Othello remake, the low caste hero Kannan Perumalayan (Suresh Gopi) is a traditional Keralan theyyam trance dancer. Perumalayan’s fundamental psychological insecurity at his outsider status is here rooted in a schizophrenic social schism – he is reviled by day yet worshipped by night, possessed by temple gods during his ritual kaliyattam fire dances. “An inter-caste scandal explodes when Perumalayan elopes with the village head’s daughter, Brahmin beauty Thamara/ Desdemona (Manju Warrier). Perumalayan loses his grip on reality as he becomes increasingly unable to separate his two lives,

10ml Love


and jealous junior temple artist Paniyan/Iago (Lal) manages to convince him that the chaste Thamara is unfaithful. “Half-costumed, Perumalayan smothers Thamara in bed. After discovering his mistake, he crushes Paniyan’s legs, crippling yet sparing him. In his final temple performance, Perumalayan bequeaths his role to Kanthan/ Cassio (Biju Menon) before throwing himself into the sacrificial fire, costume and all, consumed by his own irredeemably split conscience.” Chosen by Ms Thea Buckley, Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham


Sharat Katariya’s take on A Midsummer Night’s Dream “Endorsing the emergent Indian Indie cinema movement, Thierry Frémaux, the Artistic Director of Cannes Film Festival, declared: ‘I firmly believe that this new generation can bring a fresh air not only to Indian Cinema but also to World Cinema’. Sharat Katariya’s 10ml Love is a fine example of this. “A Midsummer Night’s Dream is an attractive play to set in India as it references the ‘Indian boy’ and the ‘spicèd Indian air’. Yet, rather than the exotic India that Shakespeare paints, Katariya sets the movie in cosmopolitan Mumbai. Whereas Shakespeare’s play begins with the aristocrats, 10ml Love opens with the mechanicals of Shakespeare’s play. In a hilarious sequence, we are shown that they are rehearsing for Ramlila. The Ramlila, is an indigenous theatrical form but the substitution

of Ramlila for the mechanicals’ play is not mere indigenization. “During the time of the British colonial rule in India, the emulation of Western theatre led to a decline of indigenous theatre forms such as the Ramlila. Thus, using a Shakespeare adaptation to emphasise the decline of Ramlila troupes is a politically canny move. The result is that India is not viewed through Shakespeare’s gaze – rather Shakespeare is viewed through an Indian gaze. This is why, for me, 10ml Love is an underrated gem.”

Chosen by Dr Varsha Panjwani, Boston University in London and University of York SHAKESPEARE magazine


! Indian Shakespeares “It adapts the play with an innovative combination of theatrical and cinematic styles”



Mirrorville, Aparna Sen’s remake of Romeo and Juliet “Romantic musicals about doomed lovers are the staple of Indian cinema and there is no dearth of appropriations of Romeo and Juliet on the Indian stage or screen. Sen’s plotting of Romeo and Juliet on the Hindu-Muslim divide to speak about contemporary intolerance is not distinctive either. “What sets this adaptation of Romeo and Juliet on the Indian Screen apart, and makes it one of my favourite Shakespeare appropriations, is its innovative combination of theatrical and cinematic styles. “As Sen states, ‘The story is known everywhere, the art is in the telling’. There are brilliant instances of realist scenes shot against painted backdrops. These not only position Arshinagar as a mirrorville which reflects a



Dev as Ranajit Mitra (Romeo) and Rittika Sen as Julekha Khan (Juliet) in Arshinagar.

reality not limited to a particular geographical place, but are also a remarkable experiment with form in commercial cinema. “Furthermore, the characters speak a contemporary combination of English, Bengali, Hindi and Urdu that is familiar to someone like me who grew up in the historical and culturally diverse city of Kolkata – and all of it is in rhymed verse! I was very excited to be speaking about this fascinating Shakespeare film at our conference.”

Chosen by Ms Koel Chatterjee, Royal Holloway, University of London

Ever wished you could walk in Shakespeare’s footsteps? Now you can!

The Shakespeare Trail is published by Amberley Publishing, priced £20 hardback. It is available from bookshops, or you can order your copy online. ORDER NOW

! Table Top Shakespeare

Think when we talk of

jam jars… Forced Entertainment present Shakespeare on a scale that is truly grand, ]IX HI½ERXP] QMRMEXYVI Director Tim Etchells tells us about his mission to stage the Bard’s Complete Works – on a XEFPI XST MR &IVPMR Interview by Lucy Corley




t sounds like something out of Mary Poppins. All 36 Shakespeare plays retold in nine days on a metre-long wooden table. With all the parts played by household items, from jars to match boxes, sponges to bottles of cleaning fluid. “It is initially a rather unpromising premise,” says Tim Etchells, Artistic Director of Forced Entertainment and director of Complete Works: Table Top Shakespeare. “You kind of look at it and think, ‘Really?’” The Complete Works performances were live-streamed for free on the internet over two weeks last June and July, as part of the 2015 Foreign Affairs Festival in Berlin. Forced Entertainment have been creating multimedia theatre since 1984, but

Table Top Shakespeare


“It’s a sort of weird, lo-fi kind of puppetry”

Jerry Killick steers Complete Works is actually their first foray the action in into Shakespeare. Coriolanus. “As well as quite spectacular and chaotic visual pieces, we’ve also done a number of pieces which use the tactic of describing things that aren’t happening and making them happen in language,” says Etchells. “Then for this festival I started really thinking about trying to represent complex narratives and psychological events using counters on the table top.” It’s the sort of thing that could easily be written off as a gimmick, were it not for the absolute commitment of the performers to their role. The performance style is understated yet mesmeric. Six narrators (Robin Arthur, Jerry Killick, Richard

Lowdon, Claire Marshall, Cathy Naden and Terry O’Connor) move objects around the table top with calm, focussed precision. There are neat little tropes, like turning objects upside-down to represent characters in disguise. In The Merchant of Venice, for instance, pink and red vases Nerissa and Portia are upturned to play the lawyers in Antonio’s trial. “I think we had a feeling of responsibility to the plays,” Etchells says. “That we wanted to show the clockwork of them, the mechanism of them. One of the ways that I talked about it with the company was in terms of taking the car engine apart and showing all the bits – in a way, showing how it works as a narrative. Performers only used SHAKESPEARE magazine


! Table Top Shakespeare “I think we had a feeling of responsibility to the plays. We wanted to show the clockwork of them”

fragments of the language occasionally when they wanted to draw on a vivid image.” For some objects, labels take the place of faces. In Richard Lowdon’s Macbeth, for instance, when Macduff (a can of kitchen sealant) booms “Turn, hellhound!” and Macbeth (a half empty bottle of Linseed oil) swivels so their labels are facing each other, ready to duel, the atmosphere is electric. “It’s a sort of weird, lo-fi kind of puppetry,” says Etchells. “There’s something about how you handle the puppet, the attention you give it as a performer, that makes the watcher begin to invest in the objects as if they were characters.” Investment in the characters is certainly the force behind the lively stream of audience



Above: The cast and crew of Hamlet. Above right: Terry O’Connor presides over another episode.

tweets that appear down the side of the screen throughout the performances, one of the best of which has to be from @youarelostleeds during The Merry Wives of Windsor: “I fancy Fenton” (Fenton is an aerosol can). Much of the joy of tuning in to the different performances is in waiting to see which objects will be chosen for each role. Coriolanus is a trophy, Richard III a diabolical Bovril jar, and baby Perdita from The Winter’s Tale is literally a peach. And she grows up into a slender, Grecian-style vase that manages to look youthful and regal – convincingly the “fair princess” among the shepherds. The physical properties of the objects bring different qualities to the ‘stage’ than human performers can. Irresolute King

Table Top Shakespeare

Henry VI is played by a clear glass bottle that Above: Macbeth, table top style. barely stands out against the wooden table top, embodying his lack of weight in the play. On selecting the ‘cast’ for each performance, Etchells explains: “We made a big collection of objects, and then the performers pretty much chose for themselves from that. The only thing that I banned was anything that was too clever or too symbolic.” Hamlet’s cast is particularly well-chosen by Terry O’Connor. Queen Gertrude is played by a pot of salt, with Claudius’ Flea Powder a jarring substitution for the pepper king that ought to stand at her side. Ophelia – a jar with two fabric roses in – has a fittingly sweet, melancholy air. And it shouldn’t be possible for a bottle to look so


brooding and angst-ridden as the slender, black Hamlet that O’Connor has found. The performers’ slow, measured delivery combined with the placing of objects makes the production almost dance-like, which is particularly effective in the comedies. “The comedies have interesting clockwork structures,” comments Etchells. “There’s a lot of mirroring and repeating, and in a funny sort of way the table top suits that because you really get to see the doubling. But I also like the tragedies because there’s an enormous gap between these static objects and the great interiority and drama you’re trying to do. Somehow the dissonance becomes productive, so they actually can be quite moving, bizarrely.” SHAKESPEARE magazine


! Table Top Shakespeare “I’m interested in the way that the work enters into a dialogue with other spaces and locations in people’s lives”

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Moving, and often funny – in Macbeth, Macduff is a can of kitchen sealant, Lady Macduff a bottle of PVA glue, and their little son is played by a Pritt Stick. There is a poignant sense of closeness between this family of adhesives that renders Macduff’s grief at their deaths surprisingly affecting. And if you want to read the symbolism into it, Macduff is the glue that finally melds a damaged Scotland back together. Though reluctant to choose a favourite Complete Works performance, Etchells says: “One that really stays with me, weirdly, is Titus Andronicus (performed by Robin Arthur). “I think partly because it’s the one where there’s the most awful violence, which you literally can’t do with the objects. I was



Above: Banquo is assassinated in Macbeth. Above right: Table Top performer Cathy Naden.

really struck by the coldness of mapping it out on the table. It’s got a relation to things like forensic reconstruction.” As a viewer, you become conscious of how much your imagination is working to fill in the gaps between the story being narrated and the static objects on the table. One is reminded of the “Think, when we talk of horses…” prologue to Henry V. “I think that’s a strong impulse in Complete Works,” Etchells says. “That sense that language is used to conjure absent things, and of course that’s very strongly there in Shakespeare. I’m interested in the way that language effectively makes spectators into active authors of what’s happening, in the sense that we’re required to flesh out or

Table Top Shakespeare

imagine things.” Inevitably, this method of performance is threatened by a poor internet connection. For me, the Merry Wives’ merriment is impeded by buffering moments when image and sound become unsynchronised, and Puck moves faster than my broadband can cope with. Yet along with the drawbacks of the digital medium comes the advantage of unprecedented accessibility, to the point of having audience members in multiple time zones experiencing the same performance. This unique access is what fascinates Etchells. “I’m interested in the way that the work enters into a dialogue with other spaces and locations in people’s lives,” he says. “It’s not about going to the theatre so much as

Top right: Birnam Wood coming to Dunsinane in Macbeth. Bottom right: That’s Puck and the fairies on the left, beside the bottles of gin that are Titania and Oberon.


sitting at the breakfast table or outside in the garden. Or you could be watching on the bus on a phone… “And I think that’s all part of the work. One of its desires is to stretch and extend into different places.”

Complete Works: Table Top Shakespeare has been staged in Berlin, Chicago and London. It next appears at the Gdansk Shakespeare Festival from 29 July to 6 August. Details from:



! Macbeth's witches



this way


The witches of Macbeth have fascinated audiences for centuries. But were they originally inspired by dramatic events in the life of Shakespeare’s royal patron, King James? Words: Jon Kaneko-James



Macbeth's witches


“Round about the cauldron go; In the poison’d entrails throw… Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble” SHAKESPEARE magazine


! Macbeth’s witches

hreat and magic inform Macbeth’s opening scene, setting a tone that continues throughout the play. The witches enter with a crash of thunder and announce they will go to the heath and await Macbeth “when the battle’s lost and won.” They next appear in Act I, Scene 3. When asked where she has been, the second witch replies, “Killing swine.” Some of Shakespeare’s 1606 audience might well have read the newly printed pamphlet, ‘The Most Cruell and Bloody Murther Committed by an Inkeepers wife.’ Published in London, this pamphlet depicted the bewitchment of a yeoman’s sister and the wholesale death of his livestock after he tried to get help. As the witches wait for Macbeth to arrive, we also see a reference to another story. The first witch, when asked where she has been, tells of how she tried to beg some chestnuts from a sailor’s wife, but was refused. The witches decide to take revenge by casting a spell that will bring bad weather to wreck the husband’s ship. Refused charity and weather magic were certainly part of the landscape of the English witch trial. For example, in 1566, a member of the Privy Council had been called to Windsor over an accusation of witchcraft. An elderly woman named Elizabeth Style had supposedly bewitched a man to death after he reneged on his promise to give her an old petticoat. The vengeful witch and the storm-tossed vessel, however, most strongly echoed a 1591 trial that in Scotland characterised the popular perception of King James VI – Later James I of England. The trial, in North Berwick, was the subject of a sermon at St. Paul’s Cross, and the events were also depicted in a pamphlet.



King James himself became famous as a witch hunter, and courtiers were still gossiping about the trial in 1636, more than a decade after his death. The plot of Macbeth is taken from Holinshed’s Chronicle, and edited to flatter Shakespeare’s royal patron. While Holinshed depicts Macbeth as, “…gouerning the realme for the space of ten yeares in equall iustice…”, Shakespeare’s Macbeth has a short and bloody reign. Just as the role of Macbeth is altered, so James’ adopted ancestor Banquo is exonerated. While Holinshed lists Banquo as a willing co-conspirator, Shakespeare portrays him as a blameless and loyal subject. The identity of the ‘Weird Sisters’ is also changed from Holinshed, making more direct reference to the 1591 trial. Their identity in Holinshed is ambiguous – they are described as, “goddesses of destinie, or else some nymphs or fairies…” or “creatures of the elder world.” The chronicle states that the historical Macbeth consulted sorcerers, “either for that he thought his puissance over great; either else for that he had learned of certaine wizzards, in whose words he put great confidence…” Unmistakeably though, Shakespeare’s witches are human: a dramatization of what the 17th century English believed members of their community were really doing. But why would the playwright who wrote with such virtuosity about fairies in A Midsummer Night’s Dream choose now to write about witches instead? James himself had written of fairies in his 1597 work on the supernatural, Daemonology, stating that they were delusions of the devil. Certainly, the link between Scottish witches and fairies already existed. James had written of numerous witches gone to the stake with confessions involving faerie hills and magical stones. Thus, Shakespeare could have easily left the witches

“The witches take revenge on the wife by casting a spell to wreck her husband’s ship”

Macbeth's witches


“Agnes Sampson and Gellis Duncan were tortured under Scottish law, and confessed to meeting with the Devil”

unchanged and have presented material that would have been familiar to the king. BOTHWELL AND THE WITCHES

In either late 1591 or early 1592 the anonymously written pamphlet Newes From Scotland had appeared in London booksellers. It told of the capture and torture of Scottish witches in the pay of King James’ cousin, the Earl of Bothwell. Virile and charismatic, with a strong record of military achievement, Bothwell had a dangerous link to the throne via his father, an illegitimate child of James V. He had rebelled against his cousin James in 1589, but seemed to have been back in favour soon after.

Described by Macbeth as “secret, black, and midnight hags”, witches were real to audiences in Shakespeare’s day.

James had long been in negotiations to secure a wife from among the princesses of the Danish court. After a proxy marriage in September 1589, the Scottish King awaited the arrival of his new queen. However, by early October, the Danish Princess Anne hadn’t arrived and James’ agent, Colonel Stewart, had not sent word. Storms had twice driven back the new queen’s fleet, forcing Stewart to escort Anne back to Copenhagen. On 7 September 1589, a ship carrying jewels and gifts for Anne’s household was wrecked by another storm while sailing from Burtisland to Leith. The wreck claimed the life of Janet Kennedy, wife of Sir Andrew Melville, whose brother wrote, “This the Scotis witches cofessit to his Maieste to have done.” By January 1590 three men had been sent to the stake, supposedly for this crime. Facing embarrassment, James took a fleet across the North Sea and journeyed directly to Denmark, where he could marry Anne in person. Even before James’ return to Scotland, rumours spread that a witch in Copenhagen had caused the storm. Barely a month after James and Anne had returned to Edinburgh, the Danes burned six women for raising a tempest against the royal fleet. Even before James had left Scotland the courts at Haddington had arrested a local midwife named Agnes Sampson, and a young woman called Gellis Duncan. Both were tortured under Scottish law and confessed to meetings with the Devil and conspiring with the ‘witches of Copper-Town’ (probably Copenhagen) to raise storms against the King. The interrogations of Sampson and Duncan blossomed into a full-scale witchcraft panic. Duncan confessed that the witches had received a letter ordering that they should prevent the queen’s coming to Scotland. Sampson had given a statement that the devil SHAKESPEARE magazine


! Macbeth's witches

had let slip, ‘It should be hard to the king to come home and that the queen should never come except the king fetched her.’ The most significant development, however, was when two men – an astrologer called Richie Graham and a defendant named Donald Robson – confessed that Bothwell had been their patron. The accused told increasingly fantastic tales of Bothwell. At first they had him supplying only money to the witches, but later stories had him meeting them in Edinburgh cellars and trying to throw effigies of King James on a fire. Bothwell was arrested and imprisoned at Edinburgh Castle in April 1591, but escaped in June and fled the city. James’ response was swift, and reminiscent of Holinshed’s account of Macbeth. While Holinshed reported that Macbeth had consulted “certaine wizards,” James’ proclamation against Bothwell stated that the earl “had consultatioun with nygromanceris, witcheis, and utheris wicket and ungodlie persones”. At first Bothwell was in full retreat. James mobilised a military pursuit and refused to take the outlawed earl’s family under royal protection. An unsuccessful attempt to kidnap James from his bedchamber at Holyrood



The witches in the 2015 Macbeth ½PQ appear with a young child and an infant.

House ended with seven of Bothwell’s followers hanged at the marketplace in Edinburgh. James wrote an official version of events for his royal cousin Elizabeth, stating that witchcraft was a danger to “God, his trew religioun, and all Monarchies professing the same…” Like Macbeth, Bothwell briefly found himself on top. In 1593 he staged a coup that captured the king. James was forced to bow to his cousin’s power until 1595, when he forced the earl onto exile. Unlike Macbeth, Bothwell did not die at the hands of an avenging Macduff. If, as Marvin Rosenberg and John Hennedy assert, Macduff is an allegory for good and morality, it might well have pleased James to see his troublesome cousin compared with the villainous Thane of Cawdor. But Macbeth was not purely Bothwell, and the witches were more than a dramatization of the North Berwick witches. Still, Macbeth would have resonated with James, and likely reminded him of a personal triumph.


Macbeth's witches



of a


Along with her fellow witches, Scottish actress Lynn Kennedy was a haunting presence in last year’s acclaimed Macbeth ½PQ ;I EWOIH LIV to share the secrets of Shakespeare’s coven…

Interview by Amy Smith Is this the first time you’ve performed in Macbeth? Can you tell us about your formative Shakespeare experiences?

“It is the first time I have performed in Macbeth. I’d auditioned for two other Macbeths that year, both stage shows, so it was third time lucky with the film! Prior to that, I’d done a lot of work on Shakespeare at drama school, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. And I played Cordelia in King Lear at the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow and a few characters in an abridged King John at A Play, A Pie and A Pint, also in Glasgow. In 2011 I performed at the Sam Wanamaker Festival at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. “It was an absolute dream to work on the film. I really wasn’t expecting anything like that to ever happen to me, and certainly not as my first screen role. I’d love to do more!”

with other male characters, even Banquo. You do get the sense that the witches are looking out for Lady Macbeth and have connected with her emotional torment. They watch her bury her child at the start, and lead her to her deathbed when she’s out sleepwalking – which feels like they’ve come full circle with her in this last, tragic part of her life.” In the text of the play Banquo says: ‘you should be women, and yet your beards forbid me to interpret that you are so’. How much femininity did director Justin Kurzel allow the witches in this version of Macbeth?

“The idea of us being feminine or masculine was never really discussed, it was more about us being a family unit and clearly belonging to something. A lot of the images we saw What do you think the witches represent in the for the witches ‘look’ came from Sami people (Laplanders). film’s interpretation of Macbeth? The scarification on our faces was about us being somehow “I think the witches represent Macbeth’s state of mind – different and ‘strange’ in the sense that we weren’t villagers, what is troubling him about his life and his frustrations.” but clearly belonged to each other. All our scars were unique and the older you were the more scars you were given.” How do you think Lady Macbeth and the witches, as women, are linked in this interpretation?

“I think they are linked in the sense that they all have a powerful hold over Macbeth. He looks to them for guidance and strength in a way that he doesn’t really do

The film presents a very raw portrayal of Scotland, with the overwhelming presence of the landscape. How important do you feel this is to the role of the witches in Macbeth?

“I think the landscape was hugely important to the witches SHAKESPEARE magazine


! Macbeth's witches “The witches are looking out for Lady Macbeth, they’ve connected to her torment” and I definitely felt that while we were filming, particularly on Skye. The weather conditions were awful but it made me appreciate who these women were and how they would have lived all the more. For example, our costumes were made out of a heavy wool type material that was actually made using nettles and we had animal skin boots. Although I’m vegetarian and hated the idea of them, I could understand the witches wearing them because they were warm and waterproof. I felt these women would have been very much ‘of the land’ and would use everything they had at their disposal. You got the sense that they would know what every plant, weed and berry could do...”

What was the reasoning behind featuring the child as a kind of fourth witch?

“The child witch was I think part of the idea of the witches being in perhaps a bigger unit, a tribe maybe – generations of them. It deeply troubled the Macbeths to have lost a child and not have a bloodline, so the the fact that even the witches themselves have this reflects his state of mind. It’s all around him but he can’t have it himself.” What do you think this particular take on Macbeth says about femininity and the role of women within the play?

“I think this version of the story depicts the female Did Michael Fassbender’s portrayal of Macbeth characters in a much more dignified way. We weren’t help you to create your characterisation of the cackling old crones and Lady Macbeth wasn’t as vicious and witch? How did your different perspectives heartless as I’ve seen in other versions. Which I think makes work alongside each other? Macbeth’s demise more through his own trajectory and “Michael Fassbender is a fantastic actor and it was hugely less so by ‘wicked women who lead the poor hero astray’. thrilling to act opposite him – he’s a really exciting actor to So for me I thought that was a really interesting and fresh watch. We didn’t really discuss our characters with him, but take on the story. I think you can also quite clearly see the in a rehearsal we did play around a bit with how Macbeth limitations on women back then, and their struggles. Lady and Banquo (Paddy Considine) might respond to the Macduff’s (Elizabeth Debicki) final scene is very powerful witches, and vice-versa, upon first meeting – which was where she spits out her utter contempt for Macbeth and fun, we tried it a few different ways. It helped us witches what he’s doing. She can’t do anything to stop him, but she out enormously to do that. It was our first film for all of us, goes down fighting, so to speak.” and if we hadn’t done it, it would’ve been a bit terrifying to meet them both for the first time on set!” Can you tell us about working with your fellow Did your idea of how to play the witch differ from director Justin Kurzel’s take on the character?

witches – Kayla Fallon, Seylan Baxter and Amber Rissmann?

“All of us witches became so close over the shoot, we really were like a little family – along with Amber’s mum Lydia “No, we didn’t really come into the roles with an idea of who we jokingly referred to as the fifth witch! It was really how to play them. The witches are to an extent, I feel, a lovely to be part of a group and for it to be everyone’s first sort of device to move Macbeth and the story down the film. We bonded and supported each other through it. route it goes. So you feel very much at the mercy of the “When we shot the film, I was the only actress in the director’s vision when you’re playing a role like that. group. But since we wrapped, Seylan has continued to act, They are so much a part of the world of the play that really and I think Kayla and Amber will too. We’ve met up a few it depends on what that world is as to how you can play times since, and all hung out at the premiere. The entire them. And of course you can do so much with Shakespeare, cast was lovely.” it could have been set entirely differently to how it was. We were in good hands with Justin Kurzel, obviously. I thought he did a fantastic job. Watching the film is like being a fly on the wall of 11th century Scotland.”




! Star Wars and Shakespeare “I shall despair. There is no creature loves me, And if I die, no soul will pity me. And wherefore should they, since that I myself Find in myself no pity to myself?� Richard III Act V, Scene 3



Star Wars and Shakespeare



hide your сɑȐɕѳ

Star Wars and Shakespeare might seem like strange bedfellows, to borrow a phrase from The Tempest. But we think the Bard has much in common with the Sci-Fi epic…

Words: Brooke Thomas Almost 40 years since the first Star Wars film was released, a staggering variety of sequels, prequels, spin-offs, Lego sets, video games, graphic novels – and just about everything else you can imagine – have sprung up around the ’70s blockbuster. And just like our Bill, this pop-culture phenomenon inspires people to create a lot of whole lot of art – so it was really only a matter of time before someone did a mash-up of the two. Ian Doescher, creator of the William Shakespeare’s Star Wars series, has risen to the challenge in recent years with his hugely popular iambic pentameter adaptations. And the whirligig of creativity has now come full circle with Doescher’s works themselves being performed in theatres. Appropriately enough for this hybrid of early-modern drama and Sci-Fi movie blockbuster, none of these performances were authorised by the Master of Revels (Lucasfilm, that is). These chronologically distant cultural

behemoths also share major themes and, to some extent, characters. Take Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the long awaited 2015 addition to the franchise. We have a King Lear allegory in Han Solo (“You’re Han Solo?” “I used to be.”) The aging smuggler and war hero is wandering the galaxy with a devoted Wookiee companion, Chewbacca, who keeps him grounded in the wake of his son’s turn to darkness. Chewie brings as much pathos as comic relief in this film, just like Lear’s wise Shakespearean Fool. Then we have R2-D2 – the beloved droid from the original saga, and veteran of a million school lunchboxes – waking up at the end of the film like a mirthful Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream: “What fools you mortals be, I’ve had the map all along!” If R2-D2 is Puck, then speedy newcomer BB-8 must be The Tempest’s Ariel. This mischievous droid aids Finn in his little white SHAKESPEARE magazine


! Star Wars and Shakespeare lies and is the inciting force that leads Rey to her Miranda-like “brave new world” moment: “I didn’t know there was this much green in the whole galaxy.” Han and Leia are indisputably Beatrice and Benedick, 30 years later. Their witty, warm, often barbed exchanges echo Much Ado About Nothing’s reluctant lovers even now, when their partnership is at an end. There’s a whole book to be written about Rey and Finn as mirrored twin figures, and the gender and identity issues the film confronts with their characters. Instead of a crossdressing heroine we have a male character, Finn, who picks up an identity in a leather jacket and wears it until he comes to terms with himself. Meanwhile Rey, the spiritual lovechild of Beatrice and Prince Hal, is propelled towards her destiny. Rey’s heart gradually turns from the past (her hope to be rescued from Jakku) to the future – her place in the universe as a Jedi. Henry IV’s revelling prince has Falstaff, and Rey has Han as a questionable male role model – both lose them in the end, but not before they end up where they need to be. A case of “Full fathom five thy surrogate father figure lies”, perhaps? Some of Shakespeare’s best moments focus on the inner life of wives, mothers, and powerful women in general. Star Wars: The Force Awakens echoes this with the meeting of Rey and the wise, all-knowing Maz, and that touching hug between General (formerly Princess) Leia and Rey at the close of battle. The political intrigue, family drama, gender role smashing, and identity wrangling in this instalment of the Star Wars saga parallels Shakespeare’s career-long attention to these eternal themes. Hamlet famously says “There are more things in heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of your philosophy”. And some of those are in a galaxy far, far away. All images from Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) courtesy of Disney




“What’s past is prologue” The Tempest Act II, Scene 1

Star Wars and Shakespeare


“If fortune be not ours to-day, it is Because we brave her” Antony and Cleopatra Act IV, Scene 4



! Star Wars and Shakespeare

“But life itself, my wife, and all the world, Are not with me esteemed above thy life. I would lose all, ay, sacrifice them all Here to this devil, to deliver you.� The Merchant of Venice Act IV, Scene 1



Star Wars and Shakespeare


“The miserable have no other medicine, but only hope. I’ve hope to live, and am prepared to die” Measure for Measure Act III, Scene1

“Hell is empty and all the devils are here” The Tempest Act I, Scene 2



! Star Wars and Shakespeare “Stars, hide your fires; Let not light see my black and deep desires” Macbeth Act I, Scene 4

“I go, I go; look how I go, Swifter than arrow from the Tartar’s bow.” A Midsummer Night’s Dream Act III, Scene 2



Star Wars and Shakespeare


“I do not think a braver gentleman, More active-valiant or more valiant-young, More daring or more bold, is now alive” Henry IV, Part 1 Act V, Scene 1

“Though she be but little, she is fierce” A Midsummer Night’s Dream Act III, Scene 2

Next issue

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

Shakespeare Live

! ! ! !

The RSC and BBC team-up that rocked our world.

Subterranean Shakes

Why Insane Root are staging Macbeth in a cave.

Comedy Classic

Reduced Shakespeare Company are back with a bang.

Bard behind bars

The pros and cons of Shakespeare in prison.

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