Page 1

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

Issue 12


Shakespeare’s Sisters HARRIET WALTER






Benedict Cumberbatch � Hugh Bonneville � Reduced Shakespeare Company

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

Issue 12



Shakespeare’s Sisters



Benedict Cumberbatch � Hugh Bonneville � Reduced Shakespeare Company

Welcome Welcome

to Issue 12 of Shakespeare Magazine

These are interesting times on Planet Shakespeare. In the Bard’s day, the female roles in his plays would have been played by boys and young men. Today, however, we’re seeing an increasing number of women of all ages playing Shakespeare’s male roles.

Photo: David Hammonds

And the daddy of them all is Harriet Walter (I’m sure she wouldn’t mind me using that phrase, as she confessed to channelling Ray “I’m the Daddy” Winstone while performing Henry IV). Actually, the daddy of them all is probably Glenda Jackson, 14 years Harriet’s senior, who recently played King Lear at London’s Old Vic. But Harriet’s headlining of the all-female Donmar Shakespeare Trilogy certainly places her in a similar firmament. Apart from our exclusive conversation with Harriet, this issue also features the voices and thoughts of Judi Dench, Sophie Okonedo, Margaret Atwood and Jade Anouka. Borrowing a famous phrase from Virginia Woolf, we’re calling them Shakespeare’s Sisters. And long may the Shakespearean tradition of creative cross-dressing continue. On another point, people have been asking me what advice would Shakespeare give to President Trump as he enters office? My guess is it would probably be something like: “Beware the Ides of March”. Enjoy your magazine. Pat Reid, Founder & Editor

Donate to Shakespeare Magazine Donate here

shakespeare magazine


You know him as an actor, playwright, literary genius‌ But now it’s time to meet the real William Shakespeare

Out Damned Spot! is available now from Amazon and all good bookshops urbanepublications.com

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

Issue 12


Shakespeare’s Sisters HARRIET WALTER





Plus Benedict Cumberbatch � Hugh Bonneville � Reduced Shakespeare Company

Shakespeare Magazine Issue Twelve January 2017 Founder & Editor Pat Reid Art Editor Paul McIntyre Contributing Writers Jade Anouka Gwilym Jones Scott Newstok Photographers Marc Brenner Matt Cashore Helen Maybanks John Wildgoose Teresa Wood Holly Wren Web Design David Hammonds Contact Us shakespearemag@outlook.com Facebook facebook.com/ShakespeareMagazine

Contents 44

Margaret Atwood



How to Think like Shakespeare

Reduced Shakespeare Company


Shakespeare’s Storms


John Foxx


Doctor Strange


The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses

Harriet Walter

An exclusive interview with the veteran actress, telling us about the Donmar Shakespeare Trilogy and her new book Brutus and Other Heroines.


Jade Anouka

The beloved novelist and thinker turns her mighty mind to Shakespeare, The Tempest and the penal system.

The youthful Donmar Shakespeare co-star talks us Scott Newstok’s essay advocates through a gallery of images from a Renaissance approach to the three plays. education and creativity.


The world’s funniest and longest-running Bard-spoofers tell us about their ludicrously entertaining new show. The musical innovator who also designed the striking Arden Shakespeare cover art.

Globe Book Award-winner Gwilym Jones looks at how sea-storms evolve throughout Shakespeare’s plays. Benedict Cumberbatch plays the Marvel superhero, and we reckon he’s a dead ringer for Shakespeare’s Prospero.

A quartet of production interviews with Shakespeare stars Sophie Okonedo, Judi Dench, Hugh Bonneville and Benedict Cumberbatch.

Twitter @UKShakespeare Website www.shakespearemagazine.com Newsletter http://tinyletter.com/shakespearemag Donate http://www.shakespearemagazine. com/2016/03/donate-toshakespeare-magazine/

shakespeare magazine


C H I L D R E N ’ S



7pm, FRI/SAT, FEB 10-11 2pm MATINEE, SAT, FEB 11




For more information, please visit www.childrensshakespeare.org and follow us on Facebook: @CSTShakespeare and Instagram: ChildrensShakespeare

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

”" Character'd on thy skin..."”

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

Issue 6


Hamlet Alone?

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

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

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

Benedict Cumberbatch Hamlet

Martin Freeman

Richard III

Golden Virginia

Off with their heads!

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 nearly three years, now Shakespeare Magazine has been produced on a microbudget from a bedroom in Bristol, England. Although we generate some revenue from advertising, it’s just not enough to keep going indefinitely. And so I’m asking you, our readers, to make a small contribution – whatever you can afford – to help me continue making the magazine. “Times are tough, there are so many financial demands on us all, and I know this is a lot to ask. And yet, believe it or not, if each Shakespeare Magazine reader was able to donate the equivalent of just £5 (GBP), that would be enough to keep the magazine moving forward for two whole years.


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


Blood meets ink in the world of Shakespeare Tattoos

A double bill of the Bard in sunny Sydney

Launch issue

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

Art thou Grumio?

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 �

Great Shakespeare actors 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

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


Screen Savers

Video Games: The future of Shakespeare?

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

“The mission of Shakespeare Magazine is to help people everywhere enjoy Shakespeare. If you donate to Shakespeare Magazine you’ll be investing in that mission. And you’ll be able to see the results of your investment in every issue of the magazine, in every email newsletter, in every article on the website, and in every single Tweet and Facebook post. “Shakespeare is England’s greatest gift to the world, and I think it should be a free gift. With your help, we’ll be able to keep Shakespeare Magazine completely free for everyone, and forever.” If you have any questions or would like more information, please email: ShakespeareMag@outlook.com

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, Elizabeth C, Ira Z, Alicja D, Moriah S, Shelli E, Karen M, Marivi S, 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, Joann S, Chizu N, Anne T, Julie D, Carla H, Niki T, Gwyneth P, Mercedes L, Robert L, Laura K, Daryl HS, IS Maqbool, Annette R, John OH, Brigitte P, Jekaterina K, Sandra D, James E, Julie W, Philip F, Kelly W, Kim ML, Mary H, Emma S, Rubtsova S, John L, Carol AV, Marilyn F, DM Moe, Ceri T, April S, Cheryl B, Georgia L, Michele L, Lara M. Special Thanks to Earleen T, Kirsten K, Andrea B, Andrea R, John L and Melodie S.

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!

 Harriet Walter Harriet Walter at London’s King’s Cross (Photo by Holly Wren).


shakespeare magazine

All the

Harriet Walter

Daughters of

My Father’s House

It’s been an incredible year for veteran actress Harriet Walter. On stage, she’s anchored director Phyllida Lloyd’s highly-praised Donmar Shakespeare Trilogy. On page, she’s published an insightful new book, Brutus and Other Heroines. We asked her about her unique experience of playing Shakespeare’s male and female roles. Interview by Pat Reid

shakespeare magazine


 Harriet Walter Left: Harriet in rehearsal for the Donmar Shakespeare Trilogy (Photo by Helen Maybanks). Right: Harriet’s book, Brutus and Other Heroines.

After a lifetime spent exploring Shakespeare’s worlds, what’s your take on that historical moment when the female parts were played by young men? “My take on it is just that in some ways it distances me, because I think: ‘Well, Shakespeare was never writing for me to play’. But at the same time, it makes me realise that had he been writing for female actors, who would have still been thought – if we’ve got anything to go by when they did come on the stage – to be slightly dubious in morality, he might have written different parts, words and lines, because he might have felt he had to deal with the immodesty of it, and not let them say such bold things or have any sexual innuendo in their speeches. Or he might have made them out to be more decorous and less passionate, to conform with the morality of the day. “That’s what I wonder. It’s totally unknowable, it’s frustratingly unknowable. But in another way it gave us the right to change the gender of the

performers because we realised that he was in no way being naturalistic in his own day. The speeches are for all of humanity, really. And therefore in some ways it gives you licence to take up the roles for yourself.” You say in your book that you get to add something of your own to Shakespeare’s female roles because he never imagined an actual female playing them. But there’s a famous line where Cleopatra predicts the future: ‘Some squeaking Cleopatra boy my greatness…” Is there a sense here that Shakespeare is owning up to the limitations of boy actors playing great female roles? “Yes, that’s a very interesting point. It’s very hard to imagine what the acting was like in Shakespeare’s day. There can’t have been that many Laurence Oliviers around, there must have been often quite amateurish and… I don’t know, it’s very hard to speculate. But if you think about it, London

“Shakespeare is a voice of humanity and morality. He penetrates deep into our psychology. He deals with universal themes that haven’t changed” 10

shakespeare magazine

Harriet Walter

would have been more like a provincial rep now. There wouldn’t have been that many players to call on because it wasn’t a long-standing art form or practice. I’m absolutely never going to patronise the skills of the people in those days – they probably had amazing capabilities. But they would not have had the sophisticated psychological techniques that we have now. And they wouldn’t have been demanded by an audience. The audience would have gone to see the spectacle, to hear the story and to laugh at the jokes, to cry at the sad bits. “Perhaps the acting was much more signaled, we don’t know, much more over the top. It would have been full of large gestures just to reach the back of a rather rowdy audience. They wouldn’t have needed to develop the subtlety or techniques that I can add to it – to do with my own life experience – that I can put into the emotions and the mentality of a character. The art of acting would have been more to do with copying, imitating, demonstrating rather than inhabiting the character. That’s my speculation.” Your chapter on Lady Macbeth is possibly the most idea-crammed and philosophical, and also the most visceral… “One of the reasons it’s more in detail is that it came originally from a book I wrote about Lady Macbeth. When I worked with Patrick Stewart and Antony Sher, I felt that all the time we kept developing the character that was both of us. It’s

Harriet’s Prospero watches Antonio, Alonso and Sebastian in The Tempest (Photo: Helen Maybanks).

Harriet as Brutus with Portia (Clare Dunne) in Julius Caesar (Photo: Helen Maybanks).

almost like the two of them made up a person. Which doesn’t mean that individually they’re half a person, that the parts aren’t fully fleshed out. It’s just that you can watch one another and understand more about your part because what he was going through, I was going through. “Up to a certain point. There’s a point in the play where he takes off on his own and they get more and more separate. We split apart because he’s actually done the deed and you learn that doing something, it separates you because nobody else can actually have done the murder. So once he’s done the murder he becomes separate from me because I can’t really experience that, I can’t experience the guilt. And they become more and more estranged. “And what I find interesting is the man is the one who does things and the woman is the one with the conscience, sometimes, in many plays. And somehow [Lady Macbeth] can’t be the conscience, because she’s been party to it, she’s been an aider and abetter, so she can’t be the normal wife who criticises, the mirror to her husband that Portia is to Brutus. She loses her role because she can’t be the conscience and she can’t join in in the lead. It’s a lonely role. She doesn’t have a female shakespeare magazine


 Harriet Walter companion or anyone to talk to. It’s quite unlike any other role really because she’s so alone.” Thinking about opportunities for older actors, I’m always reading about famous Victorian actors who were still playing Romeo and Juliet when they were a hundred. It always seems weird, but of course it’s just supply and demand. They would only do that if audiences would still pay for it. And I think that I’d pay for the equivalent of that now… “In doing this all-female trilogy, one of the things people have been excited about is that we’ve opened up the plays of Shakespeare to be played by people that conventionally would never have played them. I mean, that’s been going on a long time. I’m thinking particularly of black actors playing major Shakespeare roles, which wouldn’t have happened 50 years ago, even 30 years ago it was strange. And that is now completely the norm, we’ve normalised all sorts of things in our presentday acting tradition. But it’s awfully crowded now, and I’m thinking ‘If I start playing Juliet, when are the young girls going to get a chance to play Juliet?’ So it’s lovely to open it up but it also means that you’ve got to step back yourself, because you can’t have it all.

Hal (Clare Dunne) and King Henry (Harriet Walter) in Henry IV (Photo by Helen Maybanks).


shakespeare magazine

“What we’re all playing on is the fact that Shakespeare is a voice of humanity and morality, and he penetrates deep into our psychology even now because he deals with the universal themes that haven’t changed. And therefore, unlike, say, a television drama that’s just about the way we behave now, anybody can play Shakespeare theoretically because he’s the voice of humanity. And therefore he’s not naturalistic in that sense. He doesn’t need you to look like the character you play – you know, like sometimes at the beginning of a modern play it says ‘Jane, blonde, 38’. He doesn’t do any of that, and therefore it’s up for grabs in many ways, anybody can do it. Just act well and use his language well. “There was a rather closed-off period early in the last century when it was exclusively white men who played the heroes and decorative white women who played the heroines. And that gave my generation the idea that it was all rather exclusive. But if you look back into history there were women playing men, there were 90-year-old women playing young girls, it was almost freer because it wasn’t such an institution in a way. Shakespeare became much more of an institution. And we’re really opening it up again, in the way that the Victorians and the Georgians were messing about with it all the time.” Your book is full of rich little nuggets and insights. For example you mention that a defining characteristic of Imogen from Cymbeline is that she’s self-dramatising… “I think Imogen is a slight precursor of Cleopatra, although she was written later. She’s a young Cleopatra in a way. She’s not exclusively Cleopatra, I think I say in the book there’s bits of Viola in her, there’s bit of Cressida in her, there’s bits of Rosalind in her, there’s bits of Hermione in her. She’s a wonderfully round character, and I rather like the fact that recently at the Globe they called the play Imogen, because it’s very definitely about Imogen, that play. There aren’t any plays by Shakespeare where the title role is a female. There’s male and female – Romeo and Juliet, Troilus and Cressida, Antony and Cleopatra – but there’s no play called Imogen or Lady Macbeth or Rosalind, and I wonder why. There were contemporary plays like The Duchess of Malfi, and certainly so many of the

Harriet Walter

“Doing this all-female trilogy, we’ve opened up the plays of Shakespeare to be played by people that conventionally would never have played them” Greek dramas – Antigone, Electra. But somehow Shakespeare didn’t do that, and I don’t know why that is. And the great thing, why we keep writing about him, is that we can never know, but it’s very tantalising.” Antony Sher said that Henry IV was a problematic role because you needed a really good actor, but really good actors often didn’t want to play it… “That’s a real problem for actresses as well. Lots of people don’t want to play Antony to your Cleopatra or Bassanio to Portia. And sometimes somebody comes to be in the role because the A-List didn’t want to do it. And then the role gets a reputation for not being very colourful because it’s been played by somebody who maybe hasn’t brought all the colours to it. Do you see what I mean? It becomes a vicious circle. “But I was so lucky I got Patrick Stewart because he’d been in the play and he saw the possibilities of the character of Antony and he brought them all out. Antony’s a longer role than Cleopatra, it’s just that Cleopatra is the one people talk about. Maybe because she has the last act all to herself, maybe because it’s an unusually large and rounded role for a female and therefore is attractive to star actresses. And maybe the men don’t feel comfortable playing opposite what they think of as the better part. “With Henry, the context gave me a lot of colour. In my life I’ve played a lot of noble people – queens and duchesses, empresses. And there I was being asked to play King Henry IV, but it was in the women’s jail. And in the women’s jail, first of all I wanted to play a contrast to Brutus who I’d played in the same situation, who was rather a noble man – all noble spirits and noble thoughts and fine sensibilities. And then there was Henry, who historically was not a bad chap, really. I mean, he’d got the throne in a dubious way, but so did a lot of other people. And again the tradition was for

Julius Caesar: Martina Laird as Cassius and Harriet as Brutus (Photo: Helen Maybanks).

the rather refined John Gielgud type. And actually we were dealing with the Wars of the Roses and mediaeval warlords really. Who could rustle up the largest army and take over the most land and hold onto power? “And so I thought, I don’t want to be a refined person. I can be a… not brutal, but quite a thuggish person, somebody who had been a thug. And within the prison context the women are looking at male characters that they’ve known in their lives and behaviour that they’ve been used to within the prison. And we were focusing on gangs and people who lorded it over other people in the prison system, which is a common behaviour. So one of the prisoners gives me a packet of M&Ms because within the prison currency that is a great gift of homage. When the Earl of Northumberland comes to meet me he brings that as an offering of homage, and I sit there with slicked-back, greasedback hair, behaving like… I don’t know, who was I modelling myself on? I mention in the book, it might have been Tom Bell or some criminal type [I think it was Ray Winstone – Ed]. And so I was very freed up to play around and have quite a shakespeare magazine


 Harriet Walter different sort of character, which gave me rather a rich line through the play and made the part more attractive to me. But I do see what Tony’s saying, you know, compared to all the fun they had in the pub I felt I was quite humourless, and there wasn’t even any great nobility or virtue in the man. But he had the most wonderful speeches, and I just used that. It was a novelty for me to play a striding, strutting, puffed-up military leader, which maybe a man would take for granted and not find so interesting.” And I was very interested in your chapter on Brutus, because again he’s not that popular as a character in the UK. Whereas in the US they seem to relate to him much more and see him as the soul of the play. “I didn’t really have any preconceptions about Brutus. To be honest, I’d never really loved the play. I’d seen lots of productions of it, but nothing really cohered for me. I know that in lots of political situations across the world over history that has been the play people have played to articulate their own situation. In Yugoslavia under communism Mark Antony would have had a different symbolism. Or sometimes Julius Caesar was the hero. And in our current climate people have been identifying with Cassius, and ‘Brutus, oh he’s the sort of Liberal/Obama’. But there’s been great sympathy for my Brutus, and I’ve taken that to mean that now we’re thinking ‘Gosh, Brutus, you can’t afford to be like that. The world isn’t made like that. There is no room for noble behaviour, we’ve got to be cut-throat, come on!’ It shifts all the time, that play. Brutus, again, is the longest role, but Julius Caesar is the title role. Brutus has always been a great part, he’s the Hamlet of the play.” In the epilogue to your book, you mention the As You Like It speech where Shakespeare begins ‘All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players…’ but then forgets about the women! It’s as if there’s a second verse that he forgot to write… “The trouble is, it comes out of Jaques’ mouth, so he’s not going to worry about the life story of a woman. And it’s a pattern you see now. This is what we are up against, that men have been in charge of the narrative. And it’s not that women


shakespeare magazine

Harriet Walter: A Dame at the top of her game.

haven’t done things, written things, created things, thought things, changed people’s minds at the time they were living. It’s just that it hasn’t been chronicled, it hasn’t been remembered in history books. It was not considered necessary to include women in history. “And Shakespeare’s culpable in that direction too, but it’s understandable, totally understandable. I can’t really wag a finger at him, except to say, ‘If you were writing now, you probably would be more interested in our story’. And that’s sad, that he’s not around to do that.”

Brutus and Other Heroines by Harriet Walter is available now from Nick Hern Books at £10.39 Buy the book The Donmar Shakespeare Trilogy is now at St. Ann's Warehouse, Brooklyn until 19 February. http://stannswarehouse.org/show/the-tempest/


2016 • DVD £17.99 • 150 minutes

2015 • DVD £17.99 • 191 minutes

2012 • DVD £14.99 • 180 minutes

2012 • DVD £14.99 • 109 minutes

2011 • DVD £17.99 • Blu-ray £19.99 • 180 minutes

2003 • DVD £17.99 • 172 minutes

2010 • DVD £17.99 • 217 minutes

2005 • DVD £17.99 • 50 minutes


2012 • DVD £17.99 • 191 minutes

î Ą Jade Anouka One of the rising young stars of Phyllida Lloyd’s acclaimed Donmar Shakespeare Trilogy, multi-talented Jade Anouka talks us through an action-packed gallery of images by photographer Helen Maybanks

A Very Valiant Rebel Jade Anouka as Hotspur in Henry IV.


shakespeare magazine

Jade Anouka

Left: “This is actually during a scene change in Henry IV. Karen Dunbar live DJs throughout the show. But she is in the next scene so I take over the decks at this point.”

Below: “During the song ‘Come Unto These Yellow Sands’ in The Tempest.The whole company perform the song with a mix of instruments including guitar, drums, harmonica and trumpet. Joan Armatrading composed the music for Shakespeare’s words. At this point I am rapping – our director got me to write some spoken word for the show to help bring moments up to date. As a poet, I relished the opportunity.”

Jade as Ariel in The Tempest.

shakespeare magazine


 Jade Anouka

“In Julius Caesar I begin Mark Antony’s ‘Friends, Romans, Countrymen’ speech face down with the rest of the company/ Romans pointing guns to my head. From this completely vulnerable point, it is amazing how Shakespeare’s words can move the crowd to follow Antony.”

Jade as Mark Antony in Julius Caesar.

“This is Hotspur in an early scene of Henry IV. He is talking to the King, explaining that there was a misunderstanding, and at this point he is asking not to let this misunderstanding get in the way of their relationship.”

As Hotspur in Henry IV.


shakespeare magazine

Jade Anouka

The Earl of Douglas (Leah Harvey) spars with Hotspur in Henry IV.

“As Ariel, here I am performing another of my penned raps.This is in place of a rhyming couplet that Shakespeare wrote about how fast and efficiently Ariel says he and his sprites will fulfill Prospero’s tasks. I wrote a version, and it is performed just before the wedding.”

“Hotspur recruits The Earl of Douglas to his side, and in this moment they are sparring – a sort of test or initiation to make sure Douglas is up to it. He proves he is more than capable!”

“Here is an action shot in the big fight and only meeting of Prince Hal and Hotspur in the play. They are forced to fight to the death in order to win the war. It starts off as a stylised boxing match and descends into a grapple where a knife gets involved. I loved doing the stage combat! Thanks to Kombat Kate for choreographing.”

As Ariel in The Tempest.

Prince Hal (Clare Dunne) battles Hotspur in Henry IV.

shakespeare magazine



Once again Imprinted by W.S. 2015

“Will Sutton, already a great Shakespeare actor and sonnet performer, has now created a compelling new volume of the Bard’s 154 sonnets. In place of the historical essays and analyses of topics and themes often found in such collections, Sutton begins with a brief explanation of his color-coding system that guides both experienced and novice readers through the actions, thoughts, and structural components of each poem. The volume is brilliant in its simplicity.With it, I am re-exploring works I have been reading, performing, and teaching for decades.” David Alan Stern, PhD Professor of Dramatic Arts University of Connecticut

Order your copy here

Reduced Shakespeare Company



Art of

Reduction Comedy mavericks the Reduced Shakespeare Company are one of the world’s longest-running Bard-related outfits. So it was high time we asked them the secret of their Shakespearean success. Austin Tichenor gamely stepped forward to answer our questions. Interview by Pat Reid Photos by Teresa Wood shakespeare magazine


 Reduced Shakespeare Company “Our hope is that audiences realize we could do serious Shakespeare if we wanted to, and many of us have”


ou’ve just been to China. I know there’s a great deal of interest in Shakespeare there, but what kind of audiences did you have, and do they ‘get’ the show? “We performed our very first show, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) [revised] in Beijing, Shanghai, Xiamen and Nanjing, and Chinese audiences loved it. We call Shakespeare ‘America’s greatest living playwright’ – the truth behind the joke is that Shakespeare belongs to the world, and his works are alive everywhere 400 years after his death. In both Beijing and Shanghai our performances were part of a series of Shakespeare exhibitions and performances. The only thing that’s hard to convey cross-culturally is the improvisatory spirit that drives our shows. When everything we’re supposedly coming up with on the spur of the moment is translated and broadcast onto giant screens on either side of the stage, it’s hard to sell the illusion that we’re flying by the seat of our pants and making it up as we go along. So that aspect of the performance gets a little lost.”


shakespeare magazine

You’ve been with the RSC for 24 years now. Can you share with us your best and worst Shakespearean moments, please? “Yikes. I try to suppress the worst moments. That being said... when I first joined the RSC in 1992 at the Arts Theatre in London, I do recall a sudden attack of ‘King George III’s Revenge’ in the middle of my ‘To be, or not to be’ speech – not pretty. There are many best moments, the most recent being while performing William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (abridged) at the Folger Theatre last April. Unlike the RSC’s previous nine scripts, Long Lost is driven more by narrative than vaudeville, so to hear the audience gasping at story twists and character revelations is as wonderful and gratifying as getting a huge laugh.” The line-up of RSC has changed a bit over the years. Who’s in it at the moment, and what are the members’ respective strengths? “Reed Martin and I have been the directors of the RSC for almost a quarter of a century – Reed actually joined the company in 1989. Teddy Spencer joined us last year to become our third member for Long Lost, and we have a stable of actors in both the US and UK who know different shows in our repertoire. We have a variety of skills – Reed has an MFA in Acting and was a circus clown with Ringling Brothers for several years. My MFA’s in Directing, and for many years I played doctors and lawyers on TV – but all of our actors combine serious theatre training with improv skills and comic instincts. “Our hope is that audiences realize we could all do serious Shakespeare if we wanted to… and many of us have! We have a deep bench of UKbased actors, and two veterans of the Potted Potter plays will join one of our RSC guys to tour Long Lost around the UK starting in February.”

Reduced Shakespeare Company

Above: Reduced Shakespeare Company as the Weird Sisters in William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (abridged). “Toupee, or not toupee?” asks the Prince of Demark (Austin Tichenor) in William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (abridged).

shakespeare magazine


 Reduced Shakespeare Company I believe you’ve been accused of blasphemy in the past. But that was for infringing God rather than Shakespeare? “Sigh… yes, our production of The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged) was accused of blasphemy by a very tiny group of people in the lovely Belfast suburb of Newtownabbey. They hadn’t seen the show, of course, and believe their way is the only way to celebrate the Good Book. I’ve been with my wife for over 30 years and love her to pieces, and we tease each other every day. You think I’m not going to make fun of a book?” 2016 saw you performing your new show, William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (abridged), at the hallowed Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC. Tell us all about that? “It was a fantastic leap of faith on the Folger’s part

because they agreed to bring us in before a word was written, based simply on our concept and title. As the script continued to develop, they decided to bring us in for a full three-week run that opened on the very April 23rd weekend when the global Shakespearean 400th Deathiversary hoopla was at its peak. It’s such a privilege to be part of the Folger community, where scholarship and performance are celebrated in such equal measure.” We don’t really have renaissance faires in the UK, but they sound like great fun. And I believe this is where Reduced Shakespeare Company first honed its act and found fame? “It was indeed. The three so-called founding members of the RSC – Daniel Singer (whose idea it was in the first place), Jess Winfield and Adam Long – cut their teeth busking at Ren Faires and developing a fast, funny and physical performance style that continues to inform the work we’ve been doing since the early ’90s.” Is there such a thing as an average RSC fan? Do they tend to be hardcore Shakespeare heads, or non-Shakespeareans? “The average RSC fan tends to be highly intelligent and dead sexy. Our hardcore fans like anything we reduce – literature, history, even sports – but it’s always fun when experts in any of those fields show up. They love that we’re irreverently celebrating their chosen topic, and appreciate the fact that we always try to get our facts right when we’re not getting them wrong on purpose. But if our social media traffic is any indicator, we get waaay more response when we post Shakespeare-related stuff – or anything related to Stars Trek or Wars, or Doctors Who.”

King Lear (Reed Martin) meets Dromio of Syracuse (Teddy Spencer) from The Comedy of Errors.


shakespeare magazine

How did you view Shakespeare when you were a youngster? Was it something that always appealed to you, or was it an acquired taste? “I was lucky – I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and got to see fantastic Shakespeare at SF’s American Conservatory Theatre, where I saw their commedia-inspired Taming of the Shrew – later filmed for PBS – and powerful versions of Othello and Julius Caesar. And, probably because I was already a theatre nerd, I knew that I only

Reduced Shakespeare Company

“Because I was a theatre nerd, I knew that I only understood Shakespeare when I read it aloud” is that Shakespeare’s first play would take one hundred hours to perform and this abridgment takes only two. We believe there are forty-nine other abridgments we could cull from Shakespeare’s original!” A decade or so again you published a book, Reduced Shakespeare: The Complete Guide For The Attention Impaired (abridged). Do you think that people have become even more attention impaired since then, or have we always lived in a world of distractions? “There are more distractions than ever before, but now people seem to be at least admitting – and even embracing – their need for help getting to the point. (We know the need goes on because our book is still in print!) “In fact, the trick now is to get them when they’re young, which is why we’re writing a Shakespeare pop-up book all about his life, plays and poetry. It’s created and illustrated by the amazing Jennie Maizels and will be published in September 2017 by Walker Books. It’s beautiful – I can’t wait for you to see it!” Richard III (Austin Tichenor) woos Beatrice (Teddy Spencer) in Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play…

understood Shakespeare when I read it aloud. His language was always a cool instrument I wanted to learn how to play – and I’m still learning.” The concept of the Long Lost First play as a kind of Shakespearean mash-up sounds very appropriate, as Shakespeare often mashes up other plays – and even his own plays. Has the show ended up changing or evolving over the year? “We’ve updated some of Shakespeare’s 400-yearold puns and cultural references, and they vary depending on whether we’re in the US or the UK. After the initial workshop productions in 2015, we did continue to tighten the script – the premise

Finally, do the Royal Shakespeare Company ever threaten to get all Jacobean on you for calling yourselves the RSC? “You mean those upstarts in Stratford who stole our initals? Being American, we’re totally thinking of suing. Actually, they’ve been amazingly tolerant of our impertinence, and even invited us to perform in the Barbican lobby in 1990. We’d love to come back!”

Click below to immerse yourselves in the marvellously madcap world of the… Reduced Shakespeare Company

shakespeare magazine


John Foxx

The Mind’s Construction The original vocalist with Ultravox, John Foxx is renowned as an electronic music innovator. But under his original name of Dennis Leigh, he also created an impressive body of artwork for one of the world’s most famous Shakespeare publishers… Interview by Pat Reid Special thanks to Martin Smith at metamatic.com for help with this article.

shakespeare magazine


 John Foxx There’s a recurring use of classical statues in your Arden covers, which seems apt. Statues are mentioned in Antony and Cleopatra, Coriolanus, Julius Caesar and Pericles – and a statue plays a key role in The Winter’s Tale… “Absolutely, I think statues provide a useful motif. They can indicate fixed values – universally accepted, seemingly stable tenets of civilisation. At the same time, they are beautiful but passive, and also carry the evidence of history in their scars, and are often ruined or broken.” was familiar with your music, and knew that you were involved in art and academia. But I was surprised and impressed to learn that, over the course of two decades, you designed a whole series of covers for the famous Arden Shakespeare books. How did that come about? “Someone who worked for the design company Newell and Sorrell took my images in at the start of discussions on the project – so I was inadvertently involved from the beginning.” Did you read the plays and research Shakespeare before you designed the covers? Or was it a more instinctive process? “I read them all. But it was instinctive, too. There is always such a huge visceral and sensual core in all Shakespeare’s work, and I do believe engaging with that provides the access to a richer understanding.” Your Arden Shakespeare designs include four Roman plays, and most of the other plays are set around the Mediterranean during classical antiquity. Was this planned? It does seem to impose an overall theme on the designs… “It wasn’t planned, but I was very aware of it. You know, I think Shakespeare was actually a classicist. He localised universal concerns, often by re-using ancient stories as his frame. Subverting or reconsidering notions of classicism is the normal preoccupation of many artists. Look at Picasso, Dali, Magritte, Ernst – they all altered conventional subjects in order to produce startling and apposite results.”


shakespeare magazine

Along with your fascination for classical statues and imagery, you’ve always been interested in using the most up-to-date technology. Can you tell us about the techniques and materials you used for the Shakespeare covers? “As with many of the best things, it all began by accident. When I was touring around Europe with the band, I’d taken a lot of photographs of statues and textured walls, etc., on 35mm slide film – simply stuff that interested me at the time. I was wondering what to do with it all. Actually, I was on the point of throwing it out. “Then, by accident, I picked up two slides together and saw something that seemed magical – richer colours, beautiful textures and otherworldly superimpositions. This seemed to offer limitless potential for creating a new sort of imagery. A true Eureka moment. It altered my way of working completely. “That was around 1981, before computer imaging got underway, A little later, again by sheer coincidence, I got to use one of the first computer imaging systems, a Barco system, in Soho, London. I’m pretty sure I was the first ever to use digital technology in this way, as a collage/superimposition tool. I was also very lucky to witness that entire evolution at first hand. It taught me a great deal about technology and social change. “I scanned all my slides into digits and some were later worked on using Photoshop. But I still think the best were made using 35mm slide film and old chemical technology. You often get to the point of realising that you’re missing something when you convert to entirely new processes.”

John Foxx

“Statues are beautiful but passive. They often carry the evidence of history in their scars, and are often ruined or broken”

John Foxx: musician, artist, designer, photographer and teacher.

A suitably powerful cover design for Shakespeare’s most brutal play, Titus Andronicus.

shakespeare magazine


î Ą John Foxx

John Foxx’s recurring use of statue imagery creates a haunting theme across his different Arden designs.


shakespeare magazine

John Foxx

When I was at school in the ’80s we had the Arden Shakespeares with covers designed by the Brotherhood of Ruralists. What did you think of those? Were you determined to take your designs in a different direction? “Oh, I always admired them – Peter Blake’s work in particular. But I’m the opposite of a ruralist, so whatever I did was always going to arrive from a completely different angle. I guess each era will always interpret Shakespeare in its own way.” The Brotherhood of Ruralists’ covers were haunting and sometimes unsettling – a tradition which you continued for some of Shakespeare’s darkest and most violent plays. Do you have a favourite of your Arden covers? “I think the Antony and Cleopatra image was perhaps the most successful – in terms of an integrated image. I always like the way that sort of imagery can be capable of conveying even huge and terrible events through a sort of calm, almost impassive dignity. Well, that’s what you hope for.” Has Shakespeare been an influence on your music or lyrics at all? (One of my favourite Ultravox songs is ‘Hiroshima Mon Amour’, which is lyrically evocative of TS Eliot…) “Thanks, I love Eliot’s work too and I confess I was reading his work around the time I wrote that song. Apart from Shakespeare’s wider themes, those beautiful distilled phrases come to mind. Once you hear them, they remain with you forever, a sort of measure of irreducible perfection – you know, ‘a rose by any other name would smell as sweet’. That sort of joyous precision eventually leads you to measure everything you might do against it.” Did you have much awareness of Shakespeare when you were younger? I’ve noticed that quite a few musicians who grew up in the ’50s were impressed by Laurence Olivier’s Richard III, and actors like Richard Burton… “Oh yes, I had to go to the cinema with my school to see Othello, but I’ve got to confess I developed an instinctive aversion to Olivier. He

The concept for Foxx’s designs arose by accident when he picked up two photo slides at the same time.

seemed glottal, egotistical and serpentine. I liked Burton much better. He was so effortlessly powerful, but utterly vulnerable at the same time.” Will we see any more Shakespeare-related art from you in the future? “Oh, I think it’s all Shakespeare-related in some way. He’s such a point of gravity. Makes you proud to share the language. He went from being a brave new re-interpreter for his age, almost a drama punk, to becoming classical himself. The measure of our present concept of classicism, in fact. He’d no doubt relish that particular irony – and use it.”

More on John Foxx More on Arden Shakespeare

shakespeare magazine




Award-winning, Lancashire-based Photography service Portraits, Headshots, Theatrical Events www.timelessportraiture.co.uk 07938 950 700 Info@timelssportraiture.co.uk

The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses



the Red Rose

and the White Eight months after it graced the UK’s screens, Shakespeare TV epic The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses has just been broadcast to hugely appreciative audiences in the USA. Which gives us the perfect excuse to dig out these revealing production interviews with stellar cast members Sophie Okonedo, Judi Dench, Hugh Bonneville and Benedict Cumberbatch. I shakespeare magazine


 The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses

SOPHIE OKONEDO as MARGARET What did you think of Margaret? “I was surprised I didn’t know about the character before. I don’t have a huge knowledge of Shakespeare – I’ve done a bit but not loads. I’m more familiar with the famous plays. I was amazed that there was such an extraordinary character. She becomes extraordinary throughout the whole cycle but one play on its own wouldn’t give you a sense of how she really is.” What role does she play in the stories? “She’s quite strong in the beginning but she doesn’t realise how Henry is going to behave until she gets to England and spends some time there. She realises that she has to take charge all the time because he’s got quite a spiritual nature and finds it hard to be forceful. The crown was thrust upon him at a very young age, so he’s very different from his father. She’s had to fill the gap and steer the ship to what she feels is the rightful place.” Is she frustrated with the politics of the day? “She is particularly frustrated at the beginning because Gloucester seems to have such a powerful influence and Henry is treated like a child. They’re married, so she feels he should be allowed to rule with her alongside him. She feels a lot of the people around him are unruly and don’t treat him like a king, as they would have done with Henry V. She’s very unhappy about the situation she finds herself in. It’s not what she dreamt when she was on the boat coming to marry the king. She’s very savvy and has a quick instinct. She’s fearless, particularly for that time as a woman. She’s… got balls.” The Wars of the Roses is essentially a family feud, with intensely familial relationships. “That’s always the case with Shakespeare, or at least with the bits that I’ve done. People are always the same, no matter what the period is. The same thoughts and feelings, inconsistencies and ambiguities still occur and Shakespeare goes to the heart of that.”


shakespeare magazine

What do you think Dominic Cooke has brought to this production? “Dominic is my all-time favourite director anyway, so working with him on his first TV film is fantastic. I’ve seen his previous projects and I’m a massive fan of his theatre work. He’s a person that I would say yes to absolutely anything he asked me to do. Also, he gave me the top part in this, so it was a double whammy! He’s intensely intelligent, coupled with a great instinct for humanity and what it is to be human, the human condition. He pours all that into his work. It’s always done with the utmost authenticity. He’s also a decent chap and quite a laugh. All of those qualities are probably why he’s got the cast he has, because a lot of people know him. I just can’t imagine another director getting this cast, but it’s because a lot of people simply want to work with him.” Does it inspire you when you’re working with actors of this calibre? “I think it brings quite a lot of relaxation. Everyone knows what they’re doing and they’re at the stage in their career when they’re no longer trying to prove things. It’s a relaxed atmosphere because you’re working with the best, and everybody is there to serve the play. It’s quite a laugh too, which is important to me – I love the work, but it’s important to have a laugh as well. It’s been brilliant working with Benedict. I’ve known him for years anyway and have worked with him before. He’s pretty much the same as he was back then.” Have you worked with Tom Sturridge before? “No but I love working with him. He’s brilliant and a genius actor. We have a really good working relationship – I can throw anything at him and he’s really loose. I think he’s got an interesting journey. The way I’m playing Margaret, she really loves him and is just a bit disappointed sometimes with his behaviour. I do try to put love into every character I play.”

The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses

Sophie Okonedo as Margaret of Anjou.

“Margaret is particularly frustrated at the beginning because Gloucester has such a powerful influence” shakespeare magazine


 The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses “I was hoping that Richard III would be buried in York Minster, but we’ve lost him to Leicester”

Judi Dench as Cecily, the Duchess of York.


shakespeare magazine

The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses

JUDI DENCH as DUCHESS OF YORK How did you get involved in The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses? “The Hollow Crown scripts were sent to me while I was busy with Esio Trot. I thought it was interesting but I put it to one side because I was busy. Then I went to Hay-on-Wye to do an interview with Richard Eyre and he asked me if I remembered any lines from the Shakespeare plays I’ve done. He wanted me to perform some scenes but I told him that there are a couple of moments when I need a line feeding first. “During rehearsals, Benedict Cumberbatch walked into the room and said he would do them. So, at the event, Richard surprised the audience and introduced him on stage with me, to tumultuous applause. During the Q&A afterwards, Benedict Cumberbatch suddenly asked if I would be in the production of Richard III that he was going to do. I was completely floored. I thought about it and said yes and that was it. It’s all thanks to Benedict. “It’s thrilling and lovely to play the Duchess of York, which is where I come from. I remembered seeing the plays at Stratford with Peggy Ashcroft, Brewster Mason and Donald Sinden. I remembered the Henry VI plays terribly well but I’ve never done this one before.” Tell us about the character you’re playing in The Hollow Crown? “I play this old bag, Cecily the Duchess of York. Everybody she loves has been killed – her husband, her children. She knows who’s done it and is a kind of Miss Marple! If anyone says, ‘I’m in a terribly bad way’, she says: ‘You may be in a bad way, just wait until you hear what’s happened to me!’

That’s the Duchess of York in Richard III. I was passionately hoping that Richard III’s body would be buried in York Minster, but we’ve lost him to Leicester.” Why do you think Benedict’s right for the part of Richard III? “He’s a terrific actor and he did the most spectacular reading of it. He’d just come back from the Toronto Film Festival the night before, after doing all those crazy junket interviews, walked in and then read the whole of the Henry VI plays followed by Richard III, He was wonderful. “He has that ability not to take himself too seriously, as well as being a terrific actor. I was at Central and his mother was the year ahead of me. I think I met him when he was a little boy because I opened a theatre at Brambletye School, where he was before he went to Harrow.” How does director Dominic Cooke work with the text? “Everybody does it in a different way. I would be upset if not enough attention was being paid to the text. That’s because I come from the school of Peter Hall, Trevor Nunn and John Barton, where the text was of paramount importance. But Dominic is like that too. He pays incredible attention to the metre and the verse.”

shakespeare magazine


 The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses

HUGH BONNEVILLE as GLOUCESTER Were you familiar with these plays before you came to do The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses? “It was one of the plays I was least familiar with. They are quite exciting because they are rough and sprawling, being written early in the career of Shakespeare. I had seen them on the stage in the History Cycles. They are about England tearing itself apart and trying to work out what it is. “The plays have been condensed from four plays to three films. At the time they were performed, the characters would have been vivid in the audience’s imagination and they would have understood the references. Artistic licence has been necessary – this is very much a version of the story, a clear one. “I enjoyed reading the scripts more than the original plays, which is a terrible thing to say about Shakespeare! They have been condensed to have a clear narrative line, which is only for the better. It is interesting to see the seeds and themes of Shakespeare growing and being revisited across plays. Richard III is a one-man narrative of a descent into evil and madness. We see Shakespeare honing his craft.” What do you think of your character, the Duke of Gloucester? “He’s a simple character. Shakespeare thinks he’s a good man. He is caught between the political and the emotional. The history plays are fascinating because they are about family. You see Gloucester devoted to his nephew, devoted to the memory of his brother, Henry V. His downfall is ultimately because his wife Eleanor enjoys using the credit card too much! “There’s fantastic tension in that Gloucester is


shakespeare magazine

unable to let go, but Henry VI is also clearly not ready. Meanwhile Gloucester has also created power himself. You can see the same thing in modern-day situations, from a dictatorship to a boardroom. The plays explore the nature of power. Henry VI would like to dismiss it all and devote himself to higher thoughts. Richard III couldn’t give a toss about higher thoughts, he just wants power! “It is Gloucester’s death that unleashes the Wars of the Roses. The stability he represented was a certain kind of peace. You take out the central pillar of any society, then you create a vacuum. I’m not making grand claims for this, but you see it in Yemen, or Iraq, or Syria. In the play, you see the dukes piling in, and chaos begins. This is the heart of the Wars of the Roses. Dominic [Cooke] and Ben [Power] said that the central question of these films is: ‘How many bad decisions does it take before a madman is in power?’ You are taken from the glory of Henry V, to civil war, to a madman in power in Richard III. History has repeated itself in that vein.”

The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses

Hugh Bonneville as Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester.

“Gloucester’s downfall is ultimately because his wife Eleanor enjoys using the credit card too much” shakespeare magazine


 The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses “Richard III is an anti-hero because he lures us in. He’s very funny… Audiences revel in his villainy”

Benedict Cumberbatch as Richard III.


shakespeare magazine

The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses

BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH as RICHARD III How did you connect with the character? “In terms of tackling the real historical figure versus the fictionalised version in Shakespeare, I think we’re smart enough as audiences that the two can coexist. The script does all the heavy lifting. Richard tells the audience about how wrong he feels in his body, about being dejected and overlooked, and about being unable to be part of a royal courtly life with the Plantagenets. In mediaeval England if you were not born perfect, you were often drowned at birth. It was a terrible social taboo. In Shakespeare’s story, Richard is fostered at a distance from the Kennedy-like family of perfect specimens. There’s very little care for him. His deep-seated anger and hurt leads to his ambition and everything we know of him. That was our way into humanising him.” So do you see Richard III as a villain or as an anti-hero? “His arc is hugely brilliant. In Richard III he gives a speech about how he’s going to go and kill the king, Henry, and how this ties into his feelings about himself as a disabled man. I think that humanises him. As an actor you have to flesh out your character. You can’t pantomime with the daggers and the looks, because that gets really dull. “There’s such humour in other moments where Richard relishes his plans. He’s an anti-hero because he lures us in. He’s very funny, hopefully. Audiences don’t necessarily side with him but they revel in his villainy! I also don’t want to burden Freudian analysis onto him and make him more understandable. I don’t want to say, ‘Oh, he’s just a victim of this cruel world. Oh, what other choice did he have?’ Of course he had choices. He very clearly makes the wrong ones, and suffers the ultimate downfall for that.” What do you think of Ben Power’s scripts? “Richard III is often performed stand-alone, because you can mention it in the same breath as Macbeth and Othello, if not, say, Hamlet. It is a stand-alone of the histories in a way that the Henry

VIs aren’t. What Ben has done is to create a sense of through line in the themes across the plays. He has created a real sense of urgency.” How did it feel having Judi Dench playing your mother? “I’ve never worked with her before and it was amazing that she got to play my mum. She’s very close in age and in friendship to my mum. They’ve known each other for a long time, since drama school. I rather embarrassingly publicly asked Judi to give us the nod at the Hay Festival last year and she was very game and agreed, which bagged us a Dame! She is just an absolute delight. You’ve heard it all before, but she’s funny as hell, just an utter inspiration to be around. I crave the days when she’s on the call sheet and wish there were more. To watch her work is privilege enough, but to work with her in scenes is heavenly.”

shakespeare magazine


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

Shakespeare with Attitude

New TV series Will promises thrills, spills and quills with its fictionalised take on Young Shakespeare.

   

Shakespeare’s Faith

The new book from Graham Holderness puts Shakespeare’s Christianity in context.

Good Tickle Brain

Let us marvel at the Shakespearean stick drawing genius of Mya Gosling.

Shakespeare in Detroit

The remarkable tale of Sam White and her crusade for the Bard in the Motor City.

î Ą Margaret Atwood

This Thing of Darkness


shakespeare magazine

Margaret Atwood


Canadian literary superstar Margaret Atwood has deftly reworked The Tempest as part of the ongoing Hogarth Shakespeare series. The resulting novel, Hag-Seed, is both a warmly affectionate tribute to Shakespeare and a characteristically humane and pertinent argument for prison reform.

Left: Literary magician Margaret Atwood. Above: The Tempest staged at the University of Notre Dame, 2016 (Photo by Matt Cashore).

shakespeare magazine


 Margaret Atwood

ike Shakespeare in general, he gives you a lot of unanswered questions, he gives you a lot of possibilities with each of the characters. Who are they really? And starting at the end, with that very peculiar epilogue which ends with three words ‘set me free’, you think ‘What are you asking to be set free from?’ So I went backwards from that, and when you do that you realise everybody in the play is in prison. That’s why it’s set in a prison. Every single one of them is imprisoned in some way. So there is a reason why objectively that might be a good setting to put on that play in. “After I’d finished the book I was told that in Italy a man who was in prison and put on The Tempest while he was there found it such a transformative experience that now that he has gotten out of prison he has made a career of going and teaching Shakespeare in prisons. And he’s written a book about it that I long to have translated so I can read it.” Margaret Atwood speaking to The Canadian Press, October 2016 Watch it now


shakespeare magazine

Above: Artist Zach Lieberman created a digital art installation based on the text of Margaret Atwood’s Hag-Seed. Here we see Margaret physically interacting with her own text on the big screen.

Margaret Atwood

Left: Shakespeare Magazine attended Margaret Atwood’s October 2016 performance in Bath. Below: The Tempest directed by West Hyler at the University of Notre Dame (Photo by Matt Cashore).

“It’s part of the Hogarth Shakespeare Project to honour the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, and to celebrate that they asked a number of writers to choose a play of Shakespeare and to revisit that play in the form of a modern novel. And apart from that, there weren’t any special instructions. “People have been asking me why I chose The Tempest, apart from the fact that it’s about a weather event and Canada’s very big on weather. We have a big choice of tempests every year. So I chose The Tempest for several reasons, one was that I had thought about Prospero quite a bit before. He’s in a book called A Writer on Writing in a chapter about Devious Magicians because he is a devious magician. “He’s quite sort of magisterial but he has a guilty side and he has a very vengeful side. In fact, the whole beginning of the play is the beginning of his vengeance plan, he wants revenge on the people who have kicked him out of his beautiful life and tried to kill him. The Tempest is driven by his desire for revenge.” Margaret Atwood speaking in Bath, England in October 2016

“Prospero is a devious magician. He’s quite magisterial, but he has a guilty side. And he has a vengeful side” shakespeare magazine


 Margaret Atwood “There’s a very good book about teaching Shakespeare in prisons. It’s called Shakespeare Saved My Life” On the Bard’s home turf: Margaret’s Stratford-uponAvon tour date coincided with Bookshop Day. Below: UK cover art for Hag-Seed.

“Everybody in that play is imprisoned, constrained, un-free in some way for some part of the play, except possibly Miranda who, although she’s on an island she can’t get off of, doesn’t know anything better, so doesn’t feel she’s imprisoned. I might point out that on this island there’s no butter. I toted up the things they had to eat and they were fairly limited, so you can see why Prospero might want to get back to Milan, his home town. As for teaching Shakespeare in prisons, that has gone on more than you might think. There’s a very good book called Shakespeare Saved My Life, which is about a female college professor who went into a maximum security all-male prison and taught Shakespeare. She said that she got better papers from them than she got from her college students, because those people had been there and done that. They had assassinated Duncan.” Margaret Atwood speaking to Big Think, November 2016 Watch it now

� Buy Hag-Seed


shakespeare magazine

î Ą How to think like Shakespeare

How to think

like Shakespeare

David Mitchell plays William Shakespeare in Ben Elton’s BBC comedy Upstart Crow.


shakespeare magazine

How to think like Shakespeare

Scott Newstok believes that today’s students have been cheated of their right to a complete education. Addressing the Class of 2020 at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, Newstok argues that following the example of Shakespeare is one way for students – and all of us – to reclaim what is truly ours.

shakespeare magazine


N  How to think like Shakespeare


shakespeare magazine

ow your education is in your own hands. And my advice is: Don’t let yourself be cheated anymore, and do not cheat yourself. Take advantage of the autonomy and opportunities that college permits by approaching it in the spirit of the 16th century. You’ll become capable of a level of precision, inventiveness, and empathy worthy to be called Shakespearean. Building a bridge to the 16th century must seem like a perverse prescription for today’s ills. I’m the first to admit that English Renaissance pedagogy was rigid and rightly mocked for its domineering pedants. Few of you would be eager to wake up before 6 a.m. to say mandatory prayers, or to be lashed for tardiness, much less translate Latin for hours on end every day of the week. It would be hard to design a system more antithetical to our own contemporary ideals of studentcentered, present-focused, and career-oriented education. Yet this system somehow managed to nurture world-shifting thinkers, including those who launched the Scientific Revolution. This education fostered some of the very habits of mind endorsed by both the National Education Association and the Partnership for 21st Century Learning – critical thinking, clear communication, collaboration and creativity. (To these ‘Four Cs’ I would add ‘curiosity’.) Given that your own education has fallen far short of those laudable goals, I urge you to reconsider Shakespeare’s intellectual formation: that is, not what he purportedly thought – about law or love or leadership – but how he thought. An apparently rigid educational system could, paradoxically, induce liberated thinking. So how can you think like Shakespeare? His mind was shaped by rhetoric, a term that

How to think like Shakespeare

you probably associate with empty promises – things politicians say but don’t really mean. But in the Renaissance, rhetoric was nothing less than the fabric of thought itself. Because thinking and speaking well form the basis of existence in a community, rhetoric prepares you for every occasion that requires words. That’s why Tudor students devoted countless hours to examining vivid models, figuring out ways to turn a phrase, exercising elaborate verbal patterning. You take it for granted that Olympic athletes and professional musicians must practice relentlessly to perfect their craft. Why should you expect the craft of thought to require anything less disciplined? Fierce attention to clear and precise writing is the essential tool for you to foster independent judgment. That is rhetoric. Renaissance rhetoric achieved precision through a practice that might surprise you: imitation. Like ‘rhetoric’, ‘imitation’ sounds pejorative today – a fake, a knockoff, a mere copy. But Renaissance thinkers – aptly, looking back to the Roman Seneca, who himself looked back to the Greeks – compared the process of imitation to a bee’s gathering nectar from many flowers and then transforming it into honey. As Michel de Montaigne put it: “The bees steal from this flower and that, but afterward turn their pilferings into honey, which is their own… So the pupil will transform and fuse together the passages that he borrows from others, to make of them something entirely his own; that is to say, his own judgment. His education, his labor, and his study have no other aim but to form this.” The honey metaphor corrects our naïve notion that being creative entails making something from nothing. Instead, you become a creator by wrestling with the legacy of your authoritative predecessors, standing on the shoulders of giants. In the words of the saxophone genius John Coltrane, “You’ve got to look back at the old things and see them in a new light.” Listen to Coltrane fuse experimental jazz, South Asian melodic modes and the Elizabethan

Scott Newstok delivers his 2016 address urging students to think like Shakespeare.

ballad ‘Greensleeves’ and you’ll hear how engaging with the past generates rather than limits. The most fascinating concept that Shakespeare’s period revived from classical rhetoric was inventio, which gives us both the word ‘invention’ and the word ‘inventory’. Cartoon images of inventors usually involve a light bulb flashing above the head of a solitary genius. But nothing can come of nothing. And when rhetoricians spoke of inventio, they meant the first step in constructing an argument: an inventory of your mind’s treasury of knowledge – your database of reading, which you can accumulate only through slow, deliberate study. People on today’s left and right are misguided on this point, making them strange bedfellows. Progressive educators have long been hostile to what they scorn as a ‘banking concept’ of education, in which teachers deposit knowledge in passive students. Neoliberal reformers act as if cognitive ‘skills’ can somehow be taught in the abstract, independent of content. And some politicians seem eager to get rid of teachers altogether and just have you watch a video.

“Shakespeare’s education fostered critical thinking, clear communication, collaboration, creativity and curiosity” shakespeare magazine


 How to think like Shakespeare You, having been born when Google was founded, probably take it for granted that you can always look something up online. But knowledge matters. Cumulatively, it provides the scaffolding for your further inquiry. In the most extreme example, if you knew no words in a language, having a dictionary wouldn’t help you, since every definition would simply list more words you didn’t know. Likewise, without an inventory of knowledge, it’s frustratingly difficult for you to accumulate, much less create, more knowledge. As the Italian novelist Elena Ferrante said, “There is no work… that is not the fruit of tradition.” Tradition derives from the Latin traditio – that which is handed down to you for safekeeping. I think part of our innate skepticism of tradition derives from our good democratic impulses – we don’t want someone else telling us what to do, we want to decide for ourselves. In other words, you rightly reject a thoughtless adherence to tradition, just as you rightly reject (I hope) the thoughtlessness that accompanies authoritarianism. However, as the political philosopher Hannah Arendt insisted, education “by its very nature… cannot forgo either authority or tradition, and yet must proceed in a world that is neither structured by authority nor held together by tradition.” Educational authority is not the same thing as

political authoritarianism. You simply cannot transform tradition (a creative ideal) without first knowing it (a conserving ideal). Making an inventory must precede making an invention. Just imagine how startling it must have been for Shakespeare, the child of a small-town glove maker, the first time he encountered Seneca’s blood-drenched tragedies, or Lucretius’ treatise on the nature of the material world, or Ovid’s exquisite tales of shape-shifting. Shakespeare’s education furnished him with an inventory of words, concepts, names and plots that he would reinvent throughout his career. Immersion in distant, difficult texts enlarges your mind and your world, providing for a lifetime of further inquiry. Devote the time in college to develop your growing inventory. You’ve repeatedly heard the buzz phrase ‘critical thinking’ during your orientation. Who could be against such an obvious good? Yet we might do better to revive instead the phrase ‘negative capability’, what the poet John Keats called Shakespeare’s disposition to be “capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts.” In the Renaissance, the rhetorical tradition encouraged such “play of the mind” through the practice of disputation. Students had to argue from multiple perspectives rather than dogmatically insist upon one biased position. The 2016 CBeebies production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream had William Shakespeare (Steven Kynman) explain his own play to an audience of children.


shakespeare magazine

How to think like Shakespeare

“Shakespeare made the most of his team’s talents, with an eye toward long-term continuity. And profit!” Once you are familiar with Shakespeare’s training in disputation, you can easily see how it would lead to the verbal give-and-take that constitutes the heart of drama. As Zadie Smith marvels, “Shakespeare sees always both sides of a thing… In his plays he is woman, man, black, white, believer, heretic, Catholic, Protestant, Jew, Muslim… He understood what fierce, singular certainty creates – and what it destroys. In response, he made himself… speak truth plurally.” Now that’s the kind of critical thinking you should aspire to – speaking truth plurally. All well and good, you say, but my parents are worried about what I’m going to do after I graduate. There, too, Shakespeare can be a model. When he was born, there wasn’t yet a professional theater in London. In other words, his education had prepared him for a job that didn’t even exist. You should be encouraged to learn that this has been true for every generation. Four of today’s largest companies did not exist when I was born, 43 years ago. One of them, Apple, was co-founded by someone who said that the most important topic he ever studied was not engineering but calligraphy. In short, the best way for you to prepare for the unforeseen future is to learn how to think intensively and imaginatively. Abraham Flexner, a legendary reformer of American medical education, was adamant about the “usefulness of useless knowledge”. According to Flexner, “the really great discoveries” have “been made by men and women who were driven not by the desire to be useful but merely the desire to satisfy their curiosity.” To cultivate such curiosity, you should think of yourself as apprenticing to the craft of thought. As the intellectual historian Mary Carruthers puts it: “people do not ‘have’ ideas, they ‘make’ them.” As with rhetoric, imitation and inventory, you might not think very highly of apprenticeship these days. But it was crucial for skilled labor in Renaissance Europe. It required an exacting, collaborative environment, with guidance from people who knew more than you did. When

Tom Stourton plays the youthful Bard in Horrible Histories: Sensational Shakespeare.

Shakespeare arrived on the London theater scene, he entered a kind of artistic studio, or workshop, or laboratory, in which he was apprenticing himself to experienced playwrights. Note that playwright is not spelled w-r-i-t-e. It’s spelled w-r-i-g-h-t. A maker, like a wheelwright, who crafts wheels, or a shipwright, who crafts ships. A playwright crafts plays. After collaborating with other dramatists, Shakespeare soon graduated to crafting his own plays, yet still collaborating with the members of his company, in which he owned a share. That is, he received revenue from every ticket purchased. As Bart van Es has shown, Shakespeare wrote with specific actors in mind, making the most of the talents of his team, with an eye toward long-term continuity. And profit! At the age of 33, he could already afford to buy the second-biggest house in prosperous Stratford. He soon acquired another home, purchased more than 100 acres of land, and retired before the age of 50. Who says rhyme doesn’t pay? Part of what made Shakespeare collaborate so well with others was his radical sense of empathy. shakespeare magazine


 How to think like Shakespeare He probably would have called it fellowship. Researchers “have found evidence that literary fiction improves a reader’s capacity to understand what others are thinking and feeling.” Shakespeare developed his empathy through his schoolboy exercises of ‘double translation’ when he was impersonating the voices of others, as explored in Lynn Enterline’s work on character making (ethopoeia). A letter I recently received from a former student renewed my appreciation for the indirect ways in which empathy can be developed. Christopher Grubb, who double-majored in chemistry and music at Rhodes College, is now enrolled in Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. He recalled the opening quatrain of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 73, which he had memorized for my seminar. An aging speaker compares his declining life to a tree shedding its leaves: That time of year thou mayst in me behold, When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang Upon those boughs which shake against the cold, Bare ruined choirs where late the sweet birds sang. It would be hard to think of something more irrelevant to a medical student interviewing a patient than some ambiguous 400-year-old poem. Talk about useless knowledge! Or is it? Remarkably, Shakespeare enacts a double empathy here – that is to say, the speaker imagines the addressee imagining the speaker: “That time of year thou mayst in me behold.” Reading this poem as an undergraduate, for an elective course, contributed in some small but genuine way to Chris’s capacity for empathy. As Chris observed, medical schools are introducing liberal-arts approaches into their curricula, but he wonders whether this is “too little, too late. If a person has spent an entire academic life striving for scientific advancement, how can we expect that person to become, suddenly, expert at conversations about end-of-life care or existential pain?” He’s far from the first to lament the creeping preprofessionalism in our schools – in fact, Shakespeare’s contemporary Francis Bacon complained that among the many “colleges in


shakespeare magazine

David Mitchell’s comedic portrayal of an all-too-human Shakespeare in Upstart Crow.

Europe, I find strange that they are all dedicated to professions, and none left free to arts and sciences at large.” Our word ‘college’ derives from the Latin legal term collegium. It means a group of people with a common purpose, a body of colleagues, a fellowship, a guild. Class of 2020: welcome to college, your workshop for thought. You have an enviable chance to undertake a serious, sustained intellectual apprenticeship. You will prove your craft every time you choose to open a book, every time you choose to settle down to write without distraction. Every time you choose to listen, to consider, and to contribute to a difficult yet open conversation. Do not cheat yourselves. While the Latin curriculum has long since vanished, you can still bring precision to your words, invention to your work, and empathy to your world.

A longer version of this article originally appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education in August 2016.

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:

PRAISE fOR THE 30-MINuTE SHAKESPEARE SERIES: “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

As You Like It • The Comedy of Errors Hamlet • Henry IV, Part I • Julius Caesar King Lear • Love’s Labor’s Lost Macbeth • The Merchant of Venice The Merry Wives of Windsor A Midsummer Night’s Dream Much Ado About Nothing • Othello Romeo and Juliet • The Taming of the Shrew • The Tempest • Twelfth Night The Two Gentlemen of Verona

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 30MinuteShakespeare.com.

 Shakespeare’s Storms

“An original and imaginative book that punches far above its weight” – Professor Laurie Maguire.


shakespeare magazine

Shakepeare’s Storms

For those in Peril

on the Sea

Scholar and author Gwilym Jones won the 2016 Shakespeare’s Globe Book Award for his monograph Shakespeare’s Storms. In this exclusive guest essay for Shakespeare Magazine, he places Shakespeare’s Sea-Storms in perspective.

shakespeare magazine


 Shakespeare’s Storms “The primary function of Shakespeare’s storms is to separate characters, most obviously with a shipwreck”


Storm clouds gather above the stage at Shakespeare’s Globe (Photo by John Wildgoose).

hakespeare was remarkably fond of storms, not only in the stage effects he so often calls for, but in the metaphors and similes he gives to his characters. In fact, if such images are included, there is some instance of storm in every Shakespearean play. Perhaps this shouldn’t be surprising; the storm is a trope that has carried across literature from ancient epic to twenty-first century narrative non-fiction, from Aeneid to Zeitoun. Readers of Shakespeare Magazine will no doubt be aware of Shakespeare’s storms as individual moments in plays, but what happens if we take the panoramic view? If Shakespeare’s storms are to be thought of as functional, then their primary function is to separate characters. Most obviously, this separation is achieved when the storm causes a shipwreck, as in The Comedy of Errors, Twelfth Night, Pericles and The Tempest. In Othello, a storm splits the Venetian fleet without splitting the ships themselves, with


shakespeare magazine

the effect that characters are divided briefly. The sea is not necessary for a storm to separate – in King Lear, the weather divides characters into indoor and outdoor groups – but it is tempting to view the shipwreck storms as motifs. This temptation is amplified if we concentrate on The Comedy of Errors, Twelfth Night and The Tempest, and the chronological detail that these plays date from the beginning, middle and end of Shakespeare’s playwriting career. But these storms cannot be dismissed so neatly. Shakespeare, rather than re-use the same storm for each play, approaches each play with distinct requirements and concerns, drawn out in the texts and the storms themselves. There is, though, a pattern. If Shakespeare’s seastorms are approached in chronological order then we see an increasing interest in bringing the storm into a more immediate, and thereby dramatic and threatening, presentation. In the development of

Shakepeare’s Storms

Shakespeare’s storms, there is, indeed, a calm before the storm. To illustrate this, here are those seastorms in the order in which they were written. In The Comedy of Errors, the storm is long in the past. It is digested and given narrative structure with a definite beginning, middle and end. Thus, Egeon starts his story: ‘In Syracusa was I born’, before eventually devoting thirty lines to the storm (1.1.36; 61–91). Compelling though Egeon’s story may be, he has over four fifths of the lines in the scene. It is perhaps unsurprising that Shakespeare presents the next storm of separation differently. In Twelfth Night the fallout of the shipwreck is still happening: it is staged. The narrative is fragmented and the narrators unsure: ‘Perchance he is not drown’d: what think you sailors?’ (1.2.5). Rather than discover the characters’ situations before they appear, as in The Comedy of Errors, we see them in the immediate aftermath, washed ashore and separated. Indeed, so great is the emphasis on the present, that we are not told what caused the shipwreck: we tend to assume it is a storm – I suspect because of those in other plays – but an assumption it remains. Instead we have the lived experience of the survivor acted out on stage. In Othello, this immediacy is taken one step further: The sea-storm is happening, though off stage. Again the narrative is fragmented, but is now

Pericles battles a storm, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, 2015 (Photo by Marc Brenner).

Ariel (Colin Morgan) in the 2013 Shakespeare’s Globe production of The Tempest (Photo by Marc Brenner).

also unfinished. For the first time in Shakespeare, the sea-storm has spectators, both in the characters – chiefly Desdemona – and in the audience themselves. Next comes Pericles, and the process of bringing the storm closer to the dramatic action continues. In Act 2, Scene 1, there are spectators in the Fishermen, and Pericles enters ‘wet’ (2.1.0sd). In Act 3, Scene 1, the sea-storm is staged. Here, the audience actually experiences the storm, and the separation of characters, along with the characters involved. This is the earliest surviving scene in English drama in which a ship in a storm is on stage. When we come to The Winter’s Tale, we find the sea-storm happening, off stage. The increasing immediacy peaked with Pericles, but this is partly the point. The separation of characters in the play is not a consequence of the storm, but rather is figuratively reinforced by the storm. As the Mariner puts it, ‘In my conscience, | The heavens with that we have in hand are angry | And frown upon’s’ (3.3.4–6). The separation of parents and daughter has already happened – the audience have seen it unravel in detail – the storm is a staged, symbolic, consolidation of it. Although the shipwreck is not staged, however, it is anticipated from dry land, which is a novelty in Shakespeare (3.3.3; 8–11). Again, there is a spectator, the Clown, who shakespeare magazine


 Shakespeare’s Storms “We tend to assume the shipwreck in Twelfth Night is caused by a storm, but an assumption it remains” Act I, Scene 1 of The Tempest. Engraving by Benjamin Smith (1797). Based on a painting by George Romney. (Via Wikimedia Commons)

provides the story of the death of those on the ship, whom we have just seen on the stage. In his phrases, the immediacy is emphasised: ‘Now, now: I have not winked since I saw these sights: the men are not yet cold under water’ (102–3). Finally, in The Tempest is the conflation of everything we have seen so far. The sea-storm is staged, the mariners wet. The ship is wrecked before our eyes: ‘We split, we split, we split!’ (1.1.62). Afterwards, several narrators give slightly different versions of the wreck, and each in turn is different from the version seen by the audience. There are survivors, of course, who are separated. The play’s opening storm consolidates each element of Shakespeare’s earlier storms of separation. If we look at these sea-storms as a whole, then, we see that Shakespeare is not simply deploying them functionally, but is, rather, invested in developing their dramatic immediacy. From their literary roots in ancient poetry, Shakespeare wrestles them into a new form, in the public theatres of London. Towards the end of his career, the audience are made spectators of the storm,


shakespeare magazine

rather than listeners, as in The Comedy of Errors, or tardy witnesses, as in Twelfth Night. We become, like Desdemona, the Clown or Miranda, onlookers as the storms of separation rage.

Gwilym Jones was the winner of the 2016 Shakespeare’s Globe Book Award, presented biennially by Globe Education and a panel of academics to a new Shakespeare scholar for their first monograph. Gwilym’s book Shakespeare’s Storms, published by Manchester University Press, is the first comprehensive study of the feature in Shakespeare’s work. More on Globe Education Shakespeare’s Storms is available from Manchester University Press priced £14.99 paperback

 Doctor Strange Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in 1963, Marvel’s Doctor Strange somewhat resembles Prospero from Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

“’Tis time I should inform thee farther. Lend thy hand, And pluck my magic garment from me…” Act I, Scene 2


shakespeare magazine


Doctor Strange

Myth and Magic

Benedict Cumberbatch is a sensation as Marvel’s supernatural superhero Doctor Strange. But in our parallel Shakespearean universe, he’s actually starring as another legendary magician – namely Prospero – in a blockbuster screen version of The Tempest! Images from Doctor Strange courtesy of Marvel Studios

shakespeare magazine


 Doctor Strange Mads Mikkelsen plays renegade mystic Kaecilius.

“…I loved my books, he furnish’d me From mine own library with volumes that I prize above my dukedom” Act I, Scene 2

“Go release them, Ariel: My charms I’ll break, their senses I’ll restore, And they shall be themselves” Act V, Scene 1


shakespeare magazine

Doctor Strange

Tilda Swinton as Strange’s mentor The Ancient One.

“But this rough magic I here abjure… I’ll break my staff, Bury it certain fathoms in the earth, And deeper than did ever plummet sound I’ll drown my book” Act V, Scene 1

shakespeare magazine


 Doctor Strange

“Full fathom five thy father lies; Of his bones are coral made; Those are pearls that were his eyes…” Act I, Scene 2

“There’s nothing ill can dwell in such a temple: If the ill spirit have so fair a house, Good things will strive to dwell with’t” Act I, Scene 2 Rachel McAdams plays surgeon Christine Palmer.


shakespeare magazine

Doctor Strange

“As I told thee before, I am subject to a tyrant, a sorcerer, that by his cunning hath cheated me of the island” Act III, Scene 2 British actor Benedict Wong plays Strange’s fellow mystic Wong.

“Twelve year since, Miranda, twelve year since, Thy father was the Duke of Milan and A prince of power” Act I, Scene 2

shakespeare magazine


 Doctor Strange Chiwetel Ejiofor (left) plays mystic master Mordo.

“Now does my project gather to a head: My charms crack not; my spirits obey; and time Goes upright with his carriage. How’s the day?” Act V, Scene 1


shakespeare magazine

The Folger Shakespeare Library is the world’s largest repository of Shakespeareana and English Renaissance books, manuscripts, and objets d’art. Nobody alive knows the library better than Special Police Officer Lt. Norman Blalock; he’s been guarding it for 25 years.That’s why he is the perfect candidate to pull off an inside job and heist from the library’s underground bank vault a priceless artifact that can rock the foundation of English Literature...

“Peterson’s novel is a lush tale of noir fiction in the spirit of the appealing thief utilizing all his wits against almost insurmountable odds.” Literary Fiction Book Review Published in the USA by Ram Press Available in paperback, Kindle, Audible Audio, and iTunes Editions On sale at Amazon.com, B&N, Books-A-Million, Indie Bound, et al

Profile for Shakespeare Magazine

Shakespeare Magazine 12  

“Shakespeare’s Sisters” is the theme of Shakespeare Magazine 12! Our cover stars – Harriet Walter, Judi Dench, Sophie Okonedo and Margaret A...

Shakespeare Magazine 12  

“Shakespeare’s Sisters” is the theme of Shakespeare Magazine 12! Our cover stars – Harriet Walter, Judi Dench, Sophie Okonedo and Margaret A...