An Actor's Life


Shakespeare goes global
April 26, 2012, 2:34 pm
Filed under: Just funny | Tags: , , , , ,

We are in the midst of an incredible undertaking: The World Shakespeare Festival. It is an epic festival spanning different venues, aiming to pull together companies and artists from all over the globe and share their visions of Shakespeare’s work.

There are 37 productions from 37 countries, many in different languages (including Maori). Some are straight re-tellings, others are responses to the texts. Its these that irk me slightly.

My company New Old Friends were recently approached by the Theatre Royal Bath to create a tangentially Shakespearean show. We came up with Silly Songs of Shakespeare, a Fascinating Aida style show of songs inspired by various aspects if The Bard. But we would be uncomfortable claiming it as Shakespeare, his influence is all over the show, his name is in the title but it’s definitely not his show.

I guess that is my question, if a play is inspired by the themes of one of old Billy’s pieces should we credit the old Stratfordian? Or is this just us justifying the massive reverence we show him by claiming new artistic endeavour under his name? If a play deals with jealousy and scheming and the playwright has seen/heard/read Othello is she obliged to credit WS?

For all that I can’t help but feel that any artistic response is simply trying to piggy back on the fame of the former, if it produces great new work that drives our medium forward then I am wholeheartedly behind it.

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