Shakespeare Magazine 04

The fourth issue of Shakespeare Magazine celebrates Shakespeare's London (with guest appearances from Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman and Shakespeare in Love). Also this issue: Shakespeare in the mountains of California, New York's Shakespeare rapper and a plethora of Shakespeare Disasters.

The fourth issue of Shakespeare Magazine celebrates Shakespeare's London (with guest appearances from Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman and Shakespeare in Love). Also this issue: Shakespeare in the mountains of California, New York's Shakespeare rapper and a plethora of Shakespeare Disasters.


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Welcome <br />

Welcome<br />

to Issue 4 of <strong>Shakespeare</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong><br />

The whole point of this magazine is that William<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong> belongs to the world. London, however,<br />

will always feel like a city with a special claim to<br />

ownership of the Bard.<br />

He wasn’t born there, of course – take a bow, Stratford-upon-Avon.<br />

But it’s in England’s capital city that he first made his name as a bloke<br />

who could “bombast out a blank verse”, to quote Robert Greene’s<br />

infamous literary put-down. Four centuries later, London is the world’s<br />

favourite mega-city and <strong>Shakespeare</strong> is the world’s favourite mega-poet.<br />

“How could it possibly be otherwise?” you’ll doubtless be thinking. If<br />

you’ve ever lived in London, that is.<br />

And so, this issue we’re celebrating <strong>Shakespeare</strong> and London. Our<br />

cover, you’ll have noticed, features three present-day <strong>Shakespeare</strong> stars<br />

who’ve been known to set the city alight. Tom Hiddleston (who played<br />

Coriolanus earlier this year), Benedict Cumberbatch (whose Hamlet is<br />

next year’s hottest ticket) and Martin Freeman (whose Richard III was<br />

the sensation of the summer).<br />

Enjoy your magazine.<br />

Pat Reid, Founder & Editor<br />

Photo: David Hammonds<br />

SHAKESPEARE magazine 3

At last! A magazine with all the Will in the world<br />

SHAKESPEAREIssue 4<br />

Contents<br />

Tom<br />

Hiddleston<br />

Coriolanus<br />

Benedict<br />

Cumberbatch<br />

Hamlet<br />

London<br />

Calling<br />

Why the city that made<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong><br />

still rocks the world<br />

Martin<br />

Freeman<br />

Richard III<br />

London<br />

Calling 6<br />

England’s capital is in the throes<br />

of a <strong>Shakespeare</strong> Revolution. We<br />

report from the frontline.<br />

In the mood<br />

for love 12<br />

Why London’s romantics are<br />

swooning over <strong>Shakespeare</strong> in<br />

Love - The Play.<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong><br />

Issue Four<br />

September 2014<br />

Founder & Editor<br />

Pat Reid<br />

Art Editor<br />

Paul McIntyre<br />

Staff Writers<br />

Brooke Thomas (UK)<br />

Mary Finch (US)<br />

Writers<br />

Zoe Bramley<br />

Lauren O’Hara<br />

Tom Phillips<br />

Lis Starke<br />

Emma Wheatley<br />

Rose Wynne<br />

Chief Photographer<br />

Piper Williams<br />

Photographers<br />

Emma Liu<br />

Alison Williams<br />

Illustrator<br />

Hannah Finch<br />

Thank You<br />

Mrs Mary Reid<br />

Web design<br />

David Hammonds<br />

Contact Us<br />

shakespearemag@outlook.com<br />

Facebook<br />

facebook.com/<strong>Shakespeare</strong><strong>Magazine</strong><br />

Twitter<br />

@UK<strong>Shakespeare</strong><br />

Website<br />

www.shakespearemagazine.com<br />

London<br />

“Walk with me<br />

about the town” 18<br />

A pictorial guide to some<br />

of London’s most walkable<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong> landmarks.<br />

made <strong>Shakespeare</strong><br />

still rocks the world...<br />

Calling Why the city that<br />

The Measure<br />

Principle 24<br />

A troupe of London<br />

students turn <strong>Shakespeare</strong><br />

into Bierkeller cabaret.<br />

4 SHAKESPEARE magazine

Contents <br />

The Day of<br />

the Dauphin 30<br />

An audience with Edward Akrout,<br />

an actor who really made his mark<br />

in The Hollow Crown.<br />

<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong> Girl,<br />

Interrupted 36<br />

Our resident <strong>Shakespeare</strong>an master<br />

of disaster recounts her catalogue<br />

of woes.<br />

<br />

Beats, Rhymes<br />

and Life 42<br />

Meet The Sonnet Man, a New York<br />

rapper who’s bringing <strong>Shakespeare</strong><br />

to the people.<br />

<br />

Marin County<br />

memories 46<br />

Celebrating 25 years of<br />

outdoor <strong>Shakespeare</strong> amid<br />

beautiful scenery.<br />

<br />

Go<br />

East! 50<br />

The world-spanning <strong>Shakespeare</strong><br />

tour that is Globe To Globe Hamlet<br />

touches down in Kosova.<br />

<br />

WIN!<br />

One of 5 copies of <strong>Shakespeare</strong><br />

For Grown Ups – the rather<br />

brilliant new guide to all things<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong>.<br />

Simply send an email to us at<br />

shakespearemag@outlook.com<br />

with ‘Grown Ups’ in the subject<br />

line. Don’t forget to include<br />

your name,<br />

address and<br />

contact number.<br />

Closing date<br />

is Friday 10<br />

October.<br />

Good luck!<br />

SHAKESPEARE magazine 5

<strong>Shakespeare</strong> in London<br />

Illustrations: Hannah Finch, Photos: Alison Williams<br />

London<br />

Calling<br />

“Sound drums and trumpets, and to London all!”<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

Words: Brooke Thomas<br />

6 SHAKESPEARE magazine

<strong>Shakespeare</strong> in London <br />

“Josie Rourke’s Coriolanus saw<br />

Tom Hiddleston (of Avengers<br />

fame) playing the title role<br />

to rapturous acclaim”<br />

“Hello, is it me you’re Loki for?”<br />

Hiddleston’s hard-hitting Coriolanus.<br />

hakespeare productions are selling out in<br />

record time, people are queuing around the<br />

block for a chance to see lesser-known history<br />

plays, and bright young theatre companies are<br />

adapting the plays in countless bizarre spaces,<br />

using up-to-the-minute theatrical techniques.<br />

Yes, we’re in the middle of a <strong>Shakespeare</strong><br />

revolution, and in the year of his 450th<br />

birthday there’s no better place to experience<br />

the Bard than London.<br />

White-hot young director Jamie Lloyd<br />

has certainly been savvy with his casting<br />

choices for the Trafalgar Transformed seasons.<br />

Last year, James McAvoy, Shameless star<br />

and X-Men’s Charles Xavier, starred in<br />

Lloyd’s dystopian Macbeth. This year Martin<br />

Freeman, star of The Hobbit and Watson<br />

in the phenomenally successful BBC drama<br />

Sherlock, takes on Richard III – box office<br />

<br />

SHAKESPEARE magazine 7

<strong>Shakespeare</strong> in London<br />

According to The Telegraph, however, Zoe<br />

Wanamaker waded in to applaud Freeman<br />

for drawing people into the theatre for what<br />

might be their first time, and we’re on her<br />

side with this one – the more people that get<br />

to experience <strong>Shakespeare</strong> the better.<br />

Back in London, the colourful headline<br />

“Bigger than Beyonce!” accompanies Benedict<br />

Cumberbatch’s beaming face in this month’s<br />

news. According to online ticket marketplace<br />

Viagogo there were 200% more searches for<br />

Hamlet tickets than for Beyonce and Jay Z’s<br />

On The Run tour.<br />

Cumberbatch has made his name playing<br />

complex, mercurial characters on stage and<br />

screen. Combined with his burgeoning<br />

popularity, this makes it no surprise that<br />

his Hamlet is being lauded as the most inmeltdown<br />

ensued. Controversy raised its<br />

head at the beginning of Freeman’s run as<br />

Richard of Gloucester, though. His younger<br />

fans, drawn to the theatre by the popular<br />

actor, have reportedly been clapping and<br />

cheering at inappropriate moments, at odds<br />

with age-old theatre etiquette.<br />

Veteran actress Maureen Lipman<br />

apparently sniped at Freeman’s popularity,<br />

commenting that “[the production is] not<br />

so much Richard III as Richard the rock<br />

concert” because of Freeman’s enthusiastic<br />

fans. It should be noted that the actors,<br />

director, and many other audience members<br />

have expressed surprise at these negative<br />

reports. Apparently very few people have<br />

noticed these rowdy teenage theatre goers at<br />

all, let alone been disturbed by them.<br />

The stars are fire<br />

Celebrity casting in major <strong>Shakespeare</strong><br />

productions has proved a divisive issue in<br />

recent years. This latest furore reminds us of<br />

2008, when seventy-something polymath<br />

Johnathan Miller famously rubbished David<br />

Tennant’s casting as Hamlet. Miller allegedly<br />

referred to the actor (an RSC regular since<br />

1996) as “that man from Doctor Who”,<br />

expressing concerns that people would go to<br />

see the play because “he is a television star.”<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong>an<br />

skulduggery:<br />

David Tennant<br />

as Hamlet.<br />

8 SHAKESPEARE magazine

<strong>Shakespeare</strong> in London <br />

Kill list: Martin Freeman’s Richard is<br />

a psychopathic military bureaucrat.<br />

“A veteran actress sniped at<br />

Freeman’s popularity,<br />

referring to the production<br />

as Richard the rock concert”<br />

demand show of all time. The Sherlock star’s<br />

2015 run of Hamlet at the Barbican has sold<br />

out, but as with the Trafalgar Transformed<br />

Richard III and other hot tickets of recent<br />

years, eminently affordable £10 and £15<br />

tickets may be made available at a later date,<br />

thereby encouraging first time theatre goers<br />

even further.<br />

Players well bestow’d<br />

A short stroll from the Barbican, through St<br />

Paul’s and across the Millennium Bridge, is<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong>’s Globe Theatre, where Lipman’s<br />

comments about cheering at the correct time<br />

would surely be laughed at.<br />

This summer’s revival of Lucy Bailey’s<br />

Titus Andronicus saw droves of fainters,<br />

blood-spattered groundlings and audiences<br />

being ordered to “MOVE” by intimidating<br />

performers. And the Globe isn’t an eccentric<br />

exception to stuffy Victorian-style theatre<br />

etiquette. Even if we only look at a fraction<br />

of this year’s output, London is bursting<br />

with innovative and immersive <strong>Shakespeare</strong><br />

productions.<br />

In Poplar, in London’s East End, an<br />

ambitious production of Macbeth by<br />

RIFT spans 12 hours and several floors of a<br />

decaying tower block. Iris Theatre’s Richard<br />

<br />

SHAKESPEARE magazine 9

<strong>Shakespeare</strong> in London<br />

Handsome Hamlet: Benedict<br />

Cumberbatch is set to play<br />

the melancholy Dane.<br />

III took over The Actors’ Church in Covent<br />

Garden with battle cries and hymns.<br />

Another Titus Andronicus is due to take<br />

revenge in a multi-story car park in Peckham.<br />

And Phyllida Lloyd is launching Henry IV<br />

as part of a trilogy of all-female company<br />

productions at the Donmar Warehouse. That<br />

same venue housed Josie Rourke’s Coriolanus<br />

early this year, with Tom Hiddleston (of<br />

Marvel Avengers Loki fame, and master<br />

of an even more formidable fanbase than<br />

the Sherlock boys) playing the title role to<br />

rapturous acclaim.<br />

Thrice Ninth’s Henry IV, Part 1 sees<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong> meet Shakira, performed over<br />

the bones of the Rose Playhouse at its<br />

Bankside archaeological site. And to top it<br />

all off, the stage adaptation of 1999 romcom<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong> in Love has kicked off in the<br />

West End to rave reviews.<br />

While Stratford-upon-Avon continues<br />

to weave its own magic, London is<br />

unquestionably the centre of <strong>Shakespeare</strong>an<br />

creativity and innovation today. In fact, right<br />

now, it feels like the first, last and only place<br />

to be for fans of the Bard.<br />

<br />

The sumptuous <strong>Shakespeare</strong> in Love<br />

(of which, more anon...)<br />

10 SHAKESPEARE magazine

<strong>Shakespeare</strong> In Love<br />

London<br />

Calling<br />

In the<br />

mood for<br />

love<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

Words: Emma Wheatley<br />

12 SHAKESPEARE magazine

<strong>Shakespeare</strong> In Love <br />

“Tom Bateman and<br />

Lucy Briggs-Owen<br />

shone as Will<br />

and Viola.<br />

Their chemistry<br />

was fantastic”<br />

Photos: Johan Persson<br />

<br />

SHAKESPEARE magazine 13

<strong>Shakespeare</strong> In Love<br />

The<br />

<br />

<br />

“Whenever a well-loved film is adapted<br />

for the stage, you can’t help but be a little<br />

apprehensive about what they will do with<br />

it. Those doubts departed soon after curtain<br />

up, and I began to believe that <strong>Shakespeare</strong><br />

in Love was in safe hands with director<br />

Declan Donnellan. The performance I saw<br />

was a preview, however, so changes may well<br />

happen both before and after the 23 July<br />

opening night.<br />

In case you have never seen the 1999<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong> in Love movie, the plot sees<br />

Will <strong>Shakespeare</strong> (Joseph Fiennes), suffering<br />

from writer’s block, falling in love with his<br />

new muse, noblewoman Viola De Lessops<br />

(Gwyneth Paltrow). The story is interwoven<br />

with the writing and performing of Romeo<br />

14 SHAKESPEARE magazine<br />

and Juliet. It also deals with how Elizabethan<br />

society viewed women in many aspects of life<br />

from marriage to careers.<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

“Yes, but <strong>Shakespeare</strong> in Love – The Play has<br />

remained fairly faithful to Tom Stoppard’s<br />

original screenplay with some great additional<br />

scenes thrown in that add to the story.<br />

Interestingly, Christopher Marlowe’s role is<br />

expanded from the film and is given the lines<br />

of minor characters that have been cut during<br />

the transition from screen to stage. This<br />

works pretty well at the beginning. However,<br />

as the play progresses it starts to look as if<br />

Marlowe has just been added in for the sake<br />

<br />

play’s ravishing<br />

Elizabethan visuals<br />

are likely to please<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong> fans.

<strong>Shakespeare</strong> In Love <br />

When you’re young and<br />

in love: Viola (Lucy Briggs-<br />

Owen) is <strong>Shakespeare</strong>’s<br />

inspiration for Juliet.<br />

“Lucy Briggs-Owen played Viola<br />

with a rather more child-like<br />

quality than Gwyneth Paltrow,<br />

which suits the role well”<br />

SHAKESPEARE magazine 15

<strong>Shakespeare</strong> In Love<br />

“Despite the addition<br />

of Marlowe to the<br />

balcony scene,<br />

I found myself<br />

mouthing along to<br />

the lines from Romeo<br />

and Juliet”<br />

16 SHAKESPEARE magazine

<strong>Shakespeare</strong> In Love <br />

of having him on stage. The recreation of the<br />

balcony scene, for instance, which should<br />

be romantic and full of passion, becomes a<br />

bit farcical with the addition of Marlowe.<br />

But I forgave it as, after a couple of lines had<br />

passed, I found myself mouthing the speeches<br />

along with the actors whenever they recited<br />

lines from Romeo and Juliet.”<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

“The cast worked well together and Tom<br />

Bateman and Lucy Briggs-Owen shone as<br />

Will and Viola. Their chemistry was fantastic<br />

for so early on in the run, and as they<br />

perform together more I can see it growing<br />

further. Bateman in particular was superb as<br />

Will, carrying scenes off effortlessly. Briggs-<br />

Owen played Viola with a rather more<br />

childlike quality than Gwyneth Paltrow did<br />

in the movie. Viola’s age is never given, but<br />

I always assumed she was supposed to be<br />

young. During the <strong>Shakespeare</strong>an era women<br />

often married at a young age – just look at<br />

Juliet – so personally I felt this performance<br />

suits it well.”<br />

<br />

<br />

“Special mention should go to Colin Ryan,<br />

playing Webster. He was such a great<br />

character who got many laughs during his<br />

scenes as the gore-obsessed youngster.”<br />

<br />

<br />

“Worry not! The music is mostly incidental,<br />

for scene transitions and background music<br />

for scenes set at parties and within the theatre.<br />

The music remains faithful to the Elizabethan<br />

era and is performed impeccably by the band.<br />

The highlight for me came at the end of the<br />

show with the post-performance dance. It was<br />

choreographed perfectly and you could easily<br />

believe that it was once performed at court.<br />

So is <strong>Shakespeare</strong> in Love – The<br />

<br />

“All in all, the play was brilliant. To see the<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong>an rehearsal process on stage<br />

intercut with the love story of Will and Viola<br />

was fascinating, especially to those that love<br />

all things <strong>Shakespeare</strong>. The set, costumes<br />

and music were spot-on, deftly transporting<br />

you back to the Tudor age. Whether you<br />

love <strong>Shakespeare</strong>’s works, the original movie<br />

– or just a classy bit of entertainment –<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong> in Love –The Play is a must-see.”<br />

<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong> in Love – The Play<br />

at the Noel Coward Theatre, London<br />

For more info: http://shakespeareinlove.com<br />

Will’s world: it’s just<br />

a stage he’s going<br />

through.<br />

SHAKESPEARE magazine 17

<strong>Shakespeare</strong> Walks<br />

This suitably dramatic<br />

statue by the National<br />

Theatre (at Waterloo<br />

Bridge) depicts Laurence<br />

Olivier’s Hamlet<br />

confronting his father’s<br />

vengeful ghost.<br />

18 SHAKESPEARE magazine

London<br />

Calling<br />

“Walk<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong> Walks <br />

with me<br />

about the<br />

town...”<br />

If you’ve been following our<br />

series of <strong>Shakespeare</strong> Walks,<br />

we think you’ll like this. From<br />

our resident Tour Captain and<br />

our Chief Photographer, here’s a<br />

pictorial guide to help<br />

<br />

<br />

landmarks.<br />

Words: Zoe Bramley<br />

Pictures: Piper Williams<br />

SHAKESPEARE magazine 19

<strong>Shakespeare</strong> Walks<br />

Top and left: The reconstructed Globe which opened<br />

in 1997. <strong>Shakespeare</strong>’s original burned down in 1613<br />

during a performance of his play Henry VIII.<br />

Right: Risen from the ashes of the 1666 Great Fire,<br />

the ‘new’ St Paul’s Cathedral dominates the view<br />

from Bankside.<br />

20 SHAKESPEARE magazine

<strong>Shakespeare</strong> Walks <br />

“Neither a borrower nor a lender be...” The site of the<br />

Bell Tavern. It was from here that Richard Quiney wrote<br />

to <strong>Shakespeare</strong> in 1598 requesting a loan.<br />

The Cockpit at Blackfriars. The Tudor-era cellars<br />

below the pub are believed to have been part of<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong>’s gatehouse.<br />

<br />

SHAKESPEARE magazine 21

<strong>Shakespeare</strong> Walks<br />

A<br />

peaceful garden is<br />

all that remains today<br />

of the Blackfriars<br />

Playhouse.<br />

Ancient footings from the pre-<br />

Great Fire church.<br />

Memorial to John Heminge and Henry<br />

Condell, compilers of the First Folio, at<br />

St Mary Aldermanbury.<br />

22 SHAKESPEARE magazine

<strong>Shakespeare</strong> Walks <br />

Southwark Cathedral, where<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong>’s brother Edmund was<br />

buried in 1607. William paid for the<br />

‘great bell’ to be tolled.<br />

A pensive <strong>Shakespeare</strong><br />

watches over the<br />

garden at Leicester<br />

Square in the heart of<br />

London’s West End.<br />

SHAKESPEARE magazine 23

King’s <strong>Shakespeare</strong> Company<br />

London<br />

Calling<br />

The Measure<br />

Principle<br />

King’s <strong>Shakespeare</strong> Company is London’s only student<br />

theatre company dedicated to the Bard. We witnessed their<br />

subterranean cabaret take on Measure for Measure one<br />

sweltering night at this summer’s Bristol <strong>Shakespeare</strong> Festival.<br />

Words: Lauren O’Hara Pictures: Emma Liu<br />

24 SHAKESPEARE magazine

King’s <strong>Shakespeare</strong> Company <br />

Director Lauren<br />

O’Hara (far left)<br />

writes: “A show<br />

is nothing without<br />

its crew. Yes, our<br />

Producer and Stage<br />

Manager were always<br />

this smiley.”<br />

“Eyebrows were<br />

important. Our makeup<br />

artist had every<br />

<br />

eyebrow shape stuck<br />

on a wall backstage.<br />

Here, Hannah Elsy<br />

models her Isabella<br />

brows.”<br />

SHAKESPEARE magazine 25

King’s <strong>Shakespeare</strong> Company<br />

“This<br />

“As director, I felt it was<br />

important for there to be<br />

enough time before each show<br />

for everyone to relax.”<br />

was one of our favourite warmup<br />

games – ‘Fireball!’ It involved lots of<br />

concentrating and shouting (and laughing),<br />

which made sure that everyone was ready<br />

for the performance each night.”<br />

26 SHAKESPEARE magazine

King’s <strong>Shakespeare</strong> Company <br />

“The set for the show<br />

was very simple.<br />

All we had on stage<br />

were two chairs and<br />

a table, and we made<br />

a window and prison<br />

bars using gobos.”<br />

“Brows again.<br />

Shaped and<br />

oversized eyebrows<br />

helped to create<br />

character and<br />

ensured that<br />

expressions could<br />

be seen by all of the<br />

audience.”<br />

“Played by Ria Abbott, The<br />

Provost was the most heavily<br />

made-up of the characters.<br />

She was made to look like an<br />

<br />

authority.”<br />

<br />

SHAKESPEARE magazine 27

King’s <strong>Shakespeare</strong> Company<br />

“Making<br />

“The show featured<br />

original songs,<br />

written and arranged<br />

by Henry Keynes<br />

Carpenter.”<br />

“Every costume was made<br />

up of black, white and red<br />

to symbolise corruption,<br />

virtue and lust.”<br />

sure that<br />

everyone was warmedup,<br />

happy and ready to<br />

start the show was the<br />

main goal for me every<br />

evening.”<br />

28 SHAKESPEARE magazine

Intelligent.<br />

Cultured.<br />

Aspirational.<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong> has<br />

readers all over the world.<br />

Alison Williams, 23 – Pennsylvania, USA<br />

They love reading, writing,<br />

thinking, talking and sharing.<br />

<br />

and healthy living.<br />

And they love to experience<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong> wherever they go.<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong> is only<br />

three issues old.<br />

But we already know our readers<br />

really are something special.<br />

To advertise in <strong>Shakespeare</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong>,<br />

contact shakespearemag@outlook.com<br />

SHAKESPEARE magazine 29

Interview: Edward Akrout<br />

The<br />

Day of<br />

the<br />

Dauphin<br />

British-French actor Edward Akrout brought a rare sensitivity to<br />

the role of the villainous Dauphin in The Hollow Crown: Henry V.<br />

Here, he talks about his cultured upbringing, his passion for<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong>, and how acting is like being a musician...<br />

Interview by Lis Starke and Rose Wynne<br />

30 SHAKESPEARE magazine

Interview: Edward Akrout <br />

“My grandmother can<br />

read <strong>Shakespeare</strong> in<br />

perfect English, Molière<br />

in perfect French and<br />

Goethe in perfect<br />

German. She taught me<br />

the joy of words”<br />

SHAKESPEARE magazine 31

Interview: Edward Akrout<br />

f you’ve seen The Hollow Crown: Henry<br />

V then you’ll doubtless remember actor<br />

Edward Akrout’s portrayal of Louis the<br />

Dauphin. Stage versions rarely allow us to<br />

see inside the heart of Henry V’s villain, but<br />

The Hollow Crown was different. As Louis,<br />

Edward conveyed all the scorn and contempt<br />

expected of the role, but also embodied<br />

the heavy weight of impending battle and<br />

the heartbreak of defeat and personal loss.<br />

It was a performance that saw the Frenchborn<br />

actor winning over <strong>Shakespeare</strong> fans in<br />

England and beyond – one that even made<br />

us feel sympathy for the Dauphin’s fate at the<br />

Battle of Agincourt.<br />

Born in Paris to a British-Franco mother<br />

and a Tunisian father, Edward can truly claim<br />

to be a man of the world. He lived in several<br />

different countries while growing up, studied<br />

philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris and<br />

trained in acting at the London Academy<br />

of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA). He<br />

graduated in 2008 and four years later, in the<br />

Cultural Olympiad year of 2012, he joined<br />

the cast of The Hollow Crown.<br />

When did you decide to pursue<br />

acting as a career?<br />

“When I was a child my uncle, who was an<br />

artist, made me discover how to grow up<br />

without ever stopping playing. He made me<br />

discover painting and acting.”<br />

How was your experience training<br />

at LAMDA?<br />

“It was wonderful because I was completely<br />

new to London and LAMDA became like<br />

my family. I have made wonderful friends<br />

there and we are still very much in touch.<br />

It was such an immersive introduction to<br />

British culture, history and literature that it<br />

made me British by adoption. The training<br />

itself transforms you, your body and your<br />

mind. You learn a technique that becomes so<br />

deeply ingrained in you that you carry it then<br />

for the rest of your life.”<br />

What was the first exposure you<br />

had to <strong>Shakespeare</strong>? Did you enjoy<br />

his work right away or grow to<br />

enjoy it over time?<br />

“I think my first exposure was Kenneth<br />

Branagh’s Henry V. At first, like any boy, I<br />

watched it to see the fight scenes, I wanted to<br />

become a knight then. But then I felt more<br />

goose bumps listening to his pre-battle speech<br />

than by the battle itself. It was like nothing<br />

I ever experienced before, I was thrilled and<br />

moved by language.”<br />

What was the first production of<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong> you were in?<br />

“At LAMDA I was very lucky to play Richard<br />

III, directed by Aaron Mullen, one of my<br />

dream parts. It was a real rush. It made me an<br />

addict. It’s the closest feeling there is to being a<br />

musician. You learn the part and then you play<br />

it. The language itself tells you what to do.”<br />

Did you have any mentors that<br />

helped you appreciate and learn<br />

about <strong>Shakespeare</strong>’s language and<br />

stories?<br />

“Yes, my grandmother. She is a born actress<br />

but never pursued a career. She can read<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong> in perfect English, Molière<br />

in perfect French and Goethe in perfect<br />

German. She taught me the joy one can find<br />

and share with words.”<br />

“It’s the closest feeling there is to being a musician.<br />

You learn the part and then you play it.<br />

The language itself tells you what to do.”<br />

32 SHAKESPEARE magazine

Interview: Edward Akrout <br />

Charles (Lambert<br />

Wilson), the<br />

troubled French<br />

<br />

by his son the<br />

Dauphin and<br />

Montjoy (Jérémie<br />

Covillault, right).<br />

SHAKESPEARE magazine 33

Interview: Edward Akrout<br />

Watch this face:<br />

Edward has hinted at<br />

a big <strong>Shakespeare</strong> role<br />

coming his way in the<br />

near future.<br />

34 SHAKESPEARE magazine

Interview: Edward Akrout <br />

“Tom Hiddleston is a great actor but also a wonderful<br />

company leader. He was very much like Henry V himself.”<br />

How did you first hear about<br />

The Hollow Crown? Were you<br />

asked to audition?<br />

“I remember there were a few rounds of<br />

auditions and I eventually met Thea Sharrock.<br />

I was so happy when I got the news. On the<br />

first day we had a reading with the whole cast.<br />

I was trying to hide as much as I could but I<br />

was just in awe of all the actors sitting at that<br />

table. John Hurt, Richard Griffiths, Anton<br />

Lesser, Paterson Joseph, Tom Hiddleston,<br />

Lambert Wilson. I was a big fan of all them<br />

and couldn’t actually believe I was sitting at the<br />

same table with them.<br />

How was it working with Thea as<br />

director and Tom as lead actor?<br />

“Thea was wonderful. Very helpful and very<br />

passionate about her work. Richard Griffiths<br />

was so sweet, he used to call her ‘Mum’ on<br />

set. They were very close and worked many<br />

times together. Tom is a great actor but also a<br />

wonderful company leader. He really fuelled<br />

the entire set with his energy, and inspired<br />

everyone to give their best. He was very much<br />

like Henry V himself.”<br />

How did you feel about some of<br />

the Dauphin’s great lines being cut<br />

from the final version of Henry V?<br />

“It’s always a hard decision to make but you<br />

can’t keep everything. Thea has a real love for<br />

the play, the language and all the characters. I<br />

knew straight away that if she cut something<br />

it was always for the benefit of the story.”<br />

They say history is written by the<br />

victors of a war. As a Frenchman,<br />

how do you feel about how<br />

the French are portrayed by<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong> in Henry V?<br />

“Originally those parts were very satirical.<br />

They are almost supposed to be funny. Thea<br />

wanted to show the atrocity of war, and made<br />

all the French parts real. That is also why<br />

some lines had to go.”<br />

Do you have any humorous stories<br />

from the set of The Hollow Crown?<br />

“Driving to the set in the back of a Land Rover<br />

on a bumpy road with both Stanley Weber and<br />

I crashing into each other in our full armour. It<br />

doesn’t get any funnier than that.”<br />

You had some fantastic costumes<br />

for Henry V. Do you have any<br />

favourites? How much does the<br />

costume influence how you play a<br />

character or a scene?<br />

“My favourite was the full armour with the<br />

sword, of course. I always dreamt to have one<br />

as a kid. No acting is required then. You don’t<br />

need to gild the lily.”<br />

What upcoming projects do you<br />

have for our readers to look<br />

forward to?<br />

“I have two films coming out next year<br />

– Sword of Vengeance, where I get to act<br />

with my cousin of Orleans (Stanley Weber)<br />

again, and also The Devil’s Harvest. Deadly<br />

Virtues is coming out this August during the<br />

FrightFest in Leicester Square. I also joined<br />

the cast of Mr. Selfridge recently, which will<br />

air in January.”<br />

Is there a dream <strong>Shakespeare</strong> role<br />

you’d like to take on one day?<br />

“My dream part is coming in my direction,<br />

and I will very soon let you know more...”<br />

<br />

Find Edward on Twitter: @EdwardAkrout<br />

More from Lis and Rose: @HollowCrownFans<br />

www.hollowcrownfans.com<br />

SHAKESPEARE magazine 35

Girl, interrupted<br />

For our US Staff Writer<br />

Mary Finch, writing about<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong> is the easy<br />

bit. Getting through a<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong> performance<br />

without being struck by<br />

some form of disaster is<br />

quite another matter...<br />

C<br />

Illustrations: Hannah Finch, Photos: Alison Williams<br />

36 SHAKESPEARE magazine

Girl, interrupted <br />

Bryn Mawr. Or, as we<br />

like to call it, ‘<strong>Shakespeare</strong><br />

Calamity Town’.<br />

ast your mind back to Issue 2 of <strong>Shakespeare</strong><br />

<strong>Magazine</strong> and the epic challenges that befell<br />

me while attempting to see David Tennant’s<br />

Richard II at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute.<br />

The combination of bad weather and the<br />

unfamiliarity of Bryn Mawr led to a perfect<br />

storm of panic and chaos, coupled with the<br />

threat of missing our final exams the next<br />

day. Not to mention the (much worse) threat<br />

of missing our chance to see Richard II.<br />

It all worked out fine in the end, and I<br />

certainly hoped such complications would be<br />

a rare occurrence in my future <strong>Shakespeare</strong>an<br />

adventures. Instead, they seem to have<br />

become a defining characteristic.<br />

However, my bad luck with <strong>Shakespeare</strong><br />

goes further back than last winter. The first<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong> performance I ever saw, at the<br />

age of 14, was Hamlet. On an impulse, my<br />

mother and I went to New York City’s free<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong> in the Park. Despite most of the<br />

language going over my head, and the story<br />

being rather confusing, I loved it. The tension<br />

when Hamlet started “To be, or not to be” was<br />

tangible, the crowd was reverently hushed…<br />

and then my mother’s mobile phone rang.<br />

Our fellow audience members were kind<br />

enough not to chase us from the theatre<br />

with pitchforks, but it seems that this<br />

unpardonable faux pas has tainted my luck<br />

with <strong>Shakespeare</strong>.<br />

Now, seven years later, even though I have<br />

adopted the habit of silencing my phone,<br />

turning it off and even removing the<br />

battery, the <strong>Shakespeare</strong> gremlins still find<br />

ingenious ways to delay or derail almost any<br />

production I have the nerve to attend.<br />

You think I’m exaggerating?<br />

Let’s examine the evidence. Since<br />

Richard II last December, of<br />

the six <strong>Shakespeare</strong> productions<br />

I have seen, half of them have<br />

been tragically interrupted through<br />

random bad luck, forces of nature or<br />

human error (generally my own).<br />

A shockingly high failure rate, I<br />

think you’ll agree.<br />

“Our fellow audience members were kind enough<br />

not to chase us from the theatre with pitchforks,<br />

but it seems that this faux pas has tainted my<br />

luck with <strong>Shakespeare</strong>”<br />

<br />

SHAKESPEARE magazine 37

Girl, interrupted<br />

hours’ traffic” of the drive back home. This<br />

time the dreary landscape matched our mood<br />

perfectly.<br />

We did go to the rescheduled showing the<br />

next weekend, but I got lost on the way and<br />

missed the first half-hour. Although I had<br />

just enough luck to arrive right at the start of<br />

the fight between Aufidius and Coriolanus at<br />

Corioli. So to borrow from the Bard, I guess<br />

“All’s well that ends well.”<br />

Antony & Cleopatra<br />

Coriolanus<br />

Our disaster with the public transit of Bryn<br />

Mawr should have taught us a lesson, but<br />

Alison (my intrepid fellow <strong>Shakespeare</strong><br />

enthusiast) and I don’t scare easily. So a few<br />

months later we again drove two hours, this<br />

time to see Donmar Warehouse’s Coriolanus<br />

featuring Tom Hiddleston. The countryside,<br />

which consists of pleasant Amish farms and<br />

wooded hills, was hidden under several feet<br />

of snow, but anticipation of the production<br />

made the lengthy drive seem inconsequential.<br />

As we walked towards the cinema<br />

through the charming downtown (panic had<br />

obstructed our view last time), the ease of the<br />

trip seemed too good to be true. And indeed<br />

it was. For as we were about to walk inside,<br />

these words stopped us in our Hiddlestonian<br />

tracks: “I’m sorry, but we have lost power and<br />

have to cancel the screening.”<br />

After an hour of desperately waiting,<br />

Alison and I got back in the car for the “two-<br />

If all my other <strong>Shakespeare</strong> adventures<br />

went smoothly, I could easily attribute our<br />

misfortune to ‘The Curse of Bryn Mawr’.<br />

But when Alison and I then attempted to see<br />

the Harrisburg <strong>Shakespeare</strong> production of<br />

Antony & Cleopatra, events took yet another<br />

disastrous turn.<br />

Alison arrived early, reserving a patch of<br />

grass front and centre. I too arrived on time<br />

and without complications, but our good<br />

fortune did not last the night. The problem<br />

this time was not a lack of electricity, but<br />

too much of it. As the actors declaimed their<br />

38 SHAKESPEARE magazine

Girl, interrupted <br />

“The storm also<br />

continued to roll in,<br />

adding drama to the<br />

action by illuminating<br />

the sky with lightning<br />

and threatening to<br />

drown out the actors’<br />

voices with thunder”<br />

Alison (left) and<br />

Mary: proving cars<br />

and <strong>Shakespeare</strong><br />

don’t mix.<br />

opening lines, ominous rolls of thunder<br />

sounded in the distance.<br />

The company continued under the<br />

metallic amphitheatre without hesitation<br />

– the show must go on! The storm also<br />

continued to roll in, adding drama to the<br />

action by illuminating the sky with lightning<br />

and threatening to drown out the actors’<br />

voices with thunder. Eventually, the rain<br />

began lightly and then less lightly. Fifteen<br />

minutes into the second act, as Antony lost<br />

the battle due to Cleopatra’s retreat, the<br />

director called “Hold!” and Alison and I<br />

groaned from under our umbrellas.<br />

King Lear<br />

While those mishaps were out of my control,<br />

sometimes I can only blame myself.<br />

This summer, Harrisburg’s independent<br />

Midtown Cinema began showing NT<br />

Live screenings, starting with The National<br />

Theatre’s King Lear. Alison and I were<br />

especially joyful as this meant no more trips<br />

to Bryn Mawr!<br />

While I still didn’t have a car, I found<br />

another way to get to the theatre. Once I<br />

<br />

SHAKESPEARE magazine 39

Girl, interrupted<br />

arrived at the theatre, I let Alison know what<br />

time to pick me up (she could not join me<br />

this time due to work).<br />

I enjoyed the first half without concern,<br />

until during the intermission I checked the<br />

clock and realized that, as a typical student of<br />

words rather than numbers, I had told Alison<br />

the wrong time to pick me up – about half an<br />

hour early. So, just as Cordelia was reunited<br />

with her father, I found myself sheepishly<br />

sneaking out the door.<br />

Of course, for each of these tales of woe I<br />

have glorious stories of seeing <strong>Shakespeare</strong><br />

uninterrupted – 50 percent failure entails<br />

50 percent success, right? In Washington<br />

DC, Alison and I sat within the first three<br />

rows and the actors nearly spit on us for the<br />

entirety of Henry IV, Part 1 (spittle and all<br />

it was magnificent!). We made it back to<br />

Bryn Mawr to see Rory Kinnear as Hamlet<br />

and everything went perfectly. I dragged my<br />

entire family to see a screening of the Royal<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong> Company’s Henry IV, Part 1 and<br />

they all stayed awake and enjoyed the entire<br />

experience.<br />

No, I certainly won’t let my series of<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong> fiascos deter me. I have learned<br />

to always double check websites to make sure<br />

the venue hasn’t lost power, to pack an extra<br />

umbrella even if the weather forecast is clear,<br />

and to have someone else calculate when the<br />

show will be over. And if the <strong>Shakespeare</strong><br />

curse still manages to strike, at least I will<br />

have a few good stories to share.<br />

As that great American movie icon<br />

Forrest Gump once said, “Life is like a box<br />

of chocolates – you never know what you’re<br />

gonna get”. Some days you drive four hours<br />

through snow without any reward. Other<br />

days you end up with the best seat in the<br />

house. That’s <strong>Shakespeare</strong> for you.<br />

The loneliness of<br />

the long-distance<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong> fan.<br />

“I had told Alison<br />

the wrong time to<br />

pick me up. So, just<br />

as Cordelia was<br />

reunited with her<br />

father, I found myself<br />

sheepishly sneaking<br />

out the door”<br />

<br />

40 SHAKESPEARE magazine

Contributors<br />

Brooke Thomas<br />

Our UK Staff Writer is a<br />

post-graduate student of <strong>Shakespeare</strong><br />

in her early twenties. She learnt to<br />

love the Bard during her BA at Royal<br />

Holloway, University of London,<br />

and is currently a researcher at<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong>’s Globe. Brooke also<br />

writes fiction and hosts a short story<br />

competition called #SmallTales on<br />

Twitter. Her days off consist of tea,<br />

cake, and Doctor Who. You can find<br />

her at www.literarygeek.co.uk.<br />

Mary Finch Our US Staff Writer is<br />

in her fourth year studying English<br />

at Messiah College in central<br />

Pennsylvania. Will first grabbed her<br />

attention in secondary school and<br />

hasn’t let go since – she reads, recites<br />

and watches <strong>Shakespeare</strong> whenever<br />

possible. Besides going on irrational<br />

adventures to see performances with<br />

her friend Alison, Mary also has a<br />

passion for swing dancing, dabbling<br />

in calligraphy and tending to her<br />

ever-growing window garden of<br />

succulents.<br />

Piper Williams Our Chief<br />

Photographer hails from Portland,<br />

Oregon, now working out of<br />

Surrey. A freelance fashion and<br />

portrait photographer, he spends his<br />

days time-travelling via historical<br />

docudramas, silent films and vintage<br />

radio broadcasts. These adventures<br />

are a catalyst for his imagery and his<br />

wardrobe. His current project, 1928,<br />

is a modern take on the Jazz and War<br />

age aesthetic. Also in the works is a<br />

Steam, Diesel and Cosplay-inspired<br />

series of <strong>Shakespeare</strong>an characters.<br />

Meet thy makers...<br />

Just some of the contributors to this issue of <strong>Shakespeare</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong><br />

Lis Starke and Rose Wynne<br />

jointly run the fan group Hollow<br />

Crown Fans, which celebrates the<br />

BBC series, its cast, and all things<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong>. They are committed<br />

to bringing <strong>Shakespeare</strong> into the<br />

realm of pop culture. Rose hails<br />

from Gloucestershire in the United<br />

Kingdom and Lis from Chicago in<br />

the United States. They can be found<br />

on Twitter @HollowCrownFans and<br />

www.hollowcrownfans.com is their<br />

new website.<br />

Hannah Finch As a little girl,<br />

Hannah enjoyed taking ballet classes,<br />

playing outdoors, colouring pictures,<br />

and planning parties. Today, she is<br />

still a little girl, standing a proud<br />

5' ¾". Professionally, she is an<br />

event planner, concert dance artist,<br />

and designer. She enjoys exploring<br />

Colorado’s Rocky Mountains and<br />

travelling. She loves <strong>Shakespeare</strong> as a<br />

result of her sister’s infectious passion<br />

for his works (and insistence that they<br />

watch productions together).<br />

Lauren O’Hara<br />

is in her final year of<br />

studying English at King’s College<br />

London and is President of the<br />

King’s <strong>Shakespeare</strong> Company.<br />

This year she has directed an<br />

all-male Twelfth Night and a cabaret<br />

version of Measure for Measure (for<br />

Bristol <strong>Shakespeare</strong> Festival). She<br />

wants to pursue directing as a career<br />

and is currently working on two<br />

original scripts.<br />

SHAKESPEARE magazine 41

Interview: The Sonnet Man<br />

Beats, Rhymes and Life<br />

Velvet-voiced New York rapper Devon Glover fronts<br />

The Sonnet Man, a <strong>Shakespeare</strong> show with a fresh and funky<br />

new take on the Bard. With plans to tour the US, Canada<br />

and UK, Devon laid out his iambic manifesto for us...<br />

Interview by Mary Finch<br />

How did you first get into<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong>?<br />

“I became interested in the work of William<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong> after I assisted a high school<br />

teacher understand Othello. While reading<br />

the play aloud, I realised that a lot of his<br />

work could be said in rhythm. Also, a few<br />

lines in his play rhymed. A friend and I<br />

transcribed <strong>Shakespeare</strong>’s words to hip-hop<br />

music in order to give the students a better<br />

understanding of what the Bard was saying.”<br />

Besides the rhythm, is there<br />

anything else you think<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong>’s poetry and plays<br />

have in common with modern-day<br />

hip-hop and rap?<br />

“The usage of poetic language – metaphors,<br />

similes, alliteration – are very common in<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong>’s poetry, and in hip-hop. He<br />

created a lot of words and terms that rappers<br />

use today in their works. He also wrote with a<br />

lot of emotion – left it all out there.”<br />

42 SHAKESPEARE magazine<br />

How was the show, The Sonnet<br />

Man, concieved?<br />

“The idea to combine <strong>Shakespeare</strong>’s words<br />

with hip-hop came after meeting playwright<br />

Arje Shaw. I compared <strong>Shakespeare</strong>’s sonnets<br />

of 14 lines to a standard hip-hop verse of<br />

16 lines, which also use the same language<br />

as his plays. We believed The Sonnet Man<br />

would be a cool way to introduce students to<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong>.”<br />

Why do you think the show has<br />

resonated with so many people,<br />

especially the young?<br />

“The Sonnet Man bridges the gap with so<br />

many categories. It connects fans of hiphop<br />

to <strong>Shakespeare</strong> and vice versa. I believe<br />

the beauty of the language speaks for itself.<br />

With hip-hop rising rapidly as one of the<br />

top genres of music to children, this is sort<br />

of like the new version of Schoolhouse Rock.<br />

“My goals are to present <strong>Shakespeare</strong> in a way<br />

people haven’t seen before, to open more people to<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong>, and to inspire students to keep writing<br />

so they can become the next <strong>Shakespeare</strong>”

Interview: The Sonnet Man <br />

In his Sonnet Man<br />

persona, Devon<br />

Glover channels the<br />

spirit of <strong>Shakespeare</strong>.<br />

SHAKESPEARE magazine 43

Interview: The Sonnet Man<br />

Plus, it’s done without editing <strong>Shakespeare</strong>’s<br />

words, which is pleasing to <strong>Shakespeare</strong>ans,<br />

and opens them to a world of music some<br />

wouldn’t hear in the theatre.”<br />

What do you hope to achieve<br />

through your performances?<br />

“My goals when I perform are to present the<br />

work of <strong>Shakespeare</strong> in a way that people<br />

haven’t seen before, to open more people to<br />

the words of <strong>Shakespeare</strong>, to inspire students<br />

to keep writing so they can become the next<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong>, to tell people of all ages to never<br />

give up on their dreams.”<br />

How do people react when you<br />

perform?<br />

“I receive lots of great reactions. People who<br />

come to The Sonnet Man show for the first<br />

time are always skeptical, but leave with a<br />

better understanding of <strong>Shakespeare</strong> and<br />

hip-hop. The audience is always surprised to<br />

Devon hangs out<br />

with young fans at<br />

New York’s Student<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong> Festival.<br />

hear <strong>Shakespeare</strong>’s words being rapped. The<br />

group that is surprised the most are the true<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong>ans, who know <strong>Shakespeare</strong>’s<br />

words by heart. They actually rap along.<br />

“I have been surprised by the popularity<br />

of The Sonnet Man. This project was first<br />

made to reach out to students. However,<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong> is beloved by people of all ages,<br />

and it’s never too late to be a student of his<br />

work.”<br />

Do you have a favourite sonnet?<br />

“Ah, I have a few of them. If I had to choose<br />

one I would pick Sonnet 130. It contains<br />

many elements that I look for in an actual<br />

hip-hop song – metaphor, comedy, rhythm<br />

and rhyme, imagery, plus it’s written like a<br />

parody. With all the jokes in the sonnet, it<br />

still has a great meaning – I still love you,<br />

even with all of your flaws. In our time we use<br />

the word ‘mistress’ in an unappealing way. I<br />

believe <strong>Shakespeare</strong> was more endearing.”<br />

“<strong>Shakespeare</strong> is beloved by people of all ages, and<br />

it’s never too late to be a student of his work”<br />

44 SHAKESPEARE magazine

Interview: The Sonnet Man <br />

“The themes of his works are still relatable to the<br />

world today. He’s one of the only writers that resonate<br />

with people of all languages and cultures”<br />

Devon is an<br />

ambassador for<br />

both <strong>Shakespeare</strong><br />

and hip-hop.<br />

should be seen also, with an activity or two to<br />

go along with his work. Also, the evolution of<br />

language attributes to why students can’t seem<br />

to understand them.”<br />

Why do you think studying<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong> is still important<br />

today for students?<br />

“I believe <strong>Shakespeare</strong> is one of the greatest<br />

writers who ever lived, who contributed<br />

so much to the way we speak today. To<br />

understand his work at a younger age will<br />

work wonders for later on in life. Language<br />

is the key to success.”<br />

Why do you think <strong>Shakespeare</strong><br />

has remained so popular for so<br />

long, and to such a diverse range<br />

of people – from scholars to hiphop<br />

artists to stage actors?<br />

“The impact of his plays is the reason why<br />

they have been reinvented so many times.<br />

Even though they were written in different<br />

times, the themes of his works are still<br />

relatable to the world today. He’s one of the<br />

only writers that resonate with people of all<br />

languages and cultures. Also, the story of<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong> has always been intriguing. Even<br />

with all the research, there still feels like there<br />

are a few stones unturned.”<br />

A lot of people – especially<br />

children exposed to <strong>Shakespeare</strong><br />

through school – think they<br />

don’t like <strong>Shakespeare</strong> or can’t<br />

understand him. Why do you<br />

think this is?<br />

“I believe one of the reasons is the way it’s<br />

taught. To introduce students to <strong>Shakespeare</strong><br />

by handing them a book could be a bit too<br />

much at times. When I was introduced to<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong>, we just read it. I believe his work<br />

Thanks to Devon,<br />

these youngsters<br />

are fully sonnetsavvy.<br />

<br />

More from www.thesonnetmannyc.com<br />

SHAKESPEARE magazine 45

Diary: Marin County<br />

California’s Marin County is known for musicians, movie<br />

stars, hippies and outstanding natural beauty. It also has an<br />

open-air <strong>Shakespeare</strong> festival, one that's celebrating its silver<br />

<br />

<br />

Back in 1989, a group of theatre fans<br />

in Northern California’s picturesque<br />

Marin County set out to revive the local<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong> festival. They had the perfect<br />

outdoor summer venue in Dominican<br />

College’s Forest Meadows Amphitheatre<br />

– now they just needed the right team.<br />

An enterprising theatrical couple named<br />

Robert and Lesley Currier were duly hired.<br />

Relocating to Marin County, the Curriers<br />

quickly threw themselves into a fundraising<br />

campaign. Marin <strong>Shakespeare</strong> Company’s<br />

first production, As You Like It, was<br />

unveiled the following summer. Starring San<br />

Francisco actress Nancy Carlin as Rosalind,<br />

it was a galloping success.<br />

“In 1989 gasoline cost around a dollar<br />

a gallon, a US postage stamp cost 25 cents<br />

and we had never heard of the internet,”<br />

says Lesley. “We had a Mac Plus computer,<br />

a dot matrix printer and a lot of youthful<br />

goodwill and enthusiasm.”<br />

Apart from primitive technology, the<br />

Company also had nature to contend with.<br />

Indeed, their debut production was almost<br />

scuppered by an earthquake. “Everyone told<br />

us we should forget trying to do a show in<br />

1990,” says Robert who, needless to say,<br />

ignored the advice. This early adversity<br />

instilled an ethos of “the show must go<br />

on” that endures to this day in the face of<br />

blackouts, smoke and ash from grass fires,<br />

bee stings, poison oak and wildly variable<br />

weather. Not to mention on-stage cameos<br />

by various woodland creatures.<br />

The Company’s 25th anniversary<br />

celebrations were already underway when,<br />

sensationally, they received an anonymous<br />

donation of one million dollars. “We are<br />

thrilled,” says Lesley, who describes the gift<br />

as “transformational”. Some of the money<br />

has already been put to good use with the<br />

installation of a new microphone system.<br />

But the Company still has an agreeably old<br />

school approach to its take on <strong>Shakespeare</strong>.<br />

“There have been tremendous technical<br />

advances,” Robert says. “Today everything is<br />

digital. But we still have to build our stage<br />

every year, put up light towers and build the<br />

dressing rooms.”<br />

46 SHAKESPEARE magazine

Diary: Marin County <br />

Two decades later, little Jackson Currier is now the<br />

strapping young actor pictured here as Mercutio<br />

(left, with Teddy Spencer as Tybalt) in this year’s<br />

production of Romeo and Juliet. Jackson also acts<br />

as set designer. Photo: Eric Chazankin<br />

Robert and Lesley Currier<br />

with their young son<br />

Jackson at Forest Meadows<br />

Amphitheatre, 1990.<br />

In 1992, Robert directed The<br />

Comedy of Errors, with Jim McKie’s<br />

elaborate set design representing<br />

the Turkish city of Ephesus. The<br />

reported that the comic<br />

escapades had the audience “howling<br />

uncontrollably” with laughter.<br />

A Midsummer Night’s Dream was<br />

<br />

season in 1994. It featured members<br />

of San Francisco’s renowned Pickle<br />

Family Circus, including Diane<br />

Wasnak, seen here as Puck.<br />

SHAKESPEARE magazine 47

Diary: Marin County<br />

Marin County’s majestic Mount<br />

Tamalpais, viewed from Forest<br />

Meadows Amphitheare, the<br />

Company’s outdoor theatre venue.<br />

Photo: Eric Chazankin<br />

Along with Marin <strong>Shakespeare</strong>’s Suraya Keating,<br />

Lesley gives weekly <strong>Shakespeare</strong> classes at the<br />

infamous San Quentin State Prison, which is also<br />

in Marin County. Apart from giving an annual<br />

performance of a <strong>Shakespeare</strong> play, San Quentin<br />

students also write and perform autobiographical<br />

pieces inspired by <strong>Shakespeare</strong>. The picture shows<br />

2012’s Hamlet at San Quentin.<br />

A scene from MSC’s 2001<br />

production of Hamlet. The<br />

Company staged one summer<br />

<br />

years and two for its second<br />

<br />

staged three productions from<br />

July to September.<br />

As You Like It, August<br />

2014. Thanks to a<br />

million-dollar gift<br />

from an anonymous<br />

donor, all tickets to<br />

the production were<br />

‘Pay As You Like It’<br />

with any amount<br />

accepted at the door.<br />

Photo: Eric Chazankin<br />

A triumphant King John (Scott<br />

Coopwood) and The Bastard (Erik<br />

MacRay) in 2012’s production of<br />

King John.<br />

Photo: Eric Chazankin<br />

48 SHAKESPEARE magazine

Diary: Marin County <br />

A recent pic<br />

of Robert and<br />

Lesley Currier,<br />

along with the<br />

guy who started<br />

it all, William<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong>.<br />

Photo: Steven<br />

Underwood<br />

The Marin <strong>Shakespeare</strong> Company<br />

venue at Forest Meadows<br />

Amphitheatre. Built in 1973, it was<br />

designed so that when the moon is<br />

full it rises directly above the actors.<br />

Robert and Lesley’s psychedelic adaptation<br />

of Twelfth Night or All You Need is Love.<br />

Opening the Company’s 20th Season,<br />

it transported audiences back to the<br />

swinging ’60s and the Summer of Love.<br />

Photo: Morgan Cowin<br />

Lesley Currier as Audrey with John Furse<br />

as Touchstone from Marin <strong>Shakespeare</strong>’s<br />

As You Like It in 1990.<br />

Previously Lesley spent three years with the<br />

Ukiah Players in California. She also acted at<br />

Ashland’s Oregon <strong>Shakespeare</strong> Festival.<br />

Lesley applying make-up backstage in 2003. She stepped into<br />

the role of Puck after Diane Wasnak (reprising her criticallyacclaimed<br />

1994 appearance) fell ill. “A few days before our<br />

opening, Diane missed a rehearsal due to a stomach ache,” says<br />

<br />

However, when Diane had to be admitted to hospital, Lesley<br />

realised she would have to play Puck herself. Beyond learning<br />

the lines, this physically-demanding role involved working with<br />

Diane’s circus dog, Bonzer.<br />

<br />

workout... a great deal of concentration and willpower. I<br />

ended up performing in eight shows. Diane returned, much to<br />

everyone’s delight. But we had proven the show must go on.”<br />

Photo: Kim Taylor<br />

More from www.marinshakespeare.org<br />

SHAKESPEARE magazine 49

Hamlet in Kosova<br />

Go East!<br />

The Globe are taking Hamlet<br />

to every country in the world –<br />

including this memorable and<br />

<br />

Balkan state of Kosova.<br />

Words: Tom Phillips<br />

Photos: Bronwen Sharp<br />

We weren’t able to get hold of images from the<br />

actual Kosova performance, but these pictures<br />

by Bronwen do an excellent job in conveying<br />

the production’s verve and excitement.<br />

The performance was due to<br />

start at 8pm, but seeing as the<br />

man insisting that we all had<br />

another glass of raki before we<br />

went in was the director of the<br />

National Theatre, it didn’t seem to matter<br />

that we were amongst the many people<br />

still milling around outside the venue ten<br />

minutes after the curtain was due to go up.<br />

Across the square, kids were jumping<br />

through the hiccupping fountains, someone<br />

was trying to snap a photo which took in<br />

both the statue of a medieval warrior on<br />

a horse and the towering steel-and-glass<br />

50 SHAKESPEARE magazine

Hamlet in Kosova <br />

skyscraper behind while, draped in political<br />

colours, a group of men were sitting outside<br />

a bar yelling ‘Rambo! Rambo!’ The results of<br />

the general election remained undecided. On<br />

the steps of the National Theatre in Prishtina,<br />

banners announced that The Globe’s touring<br />

production of Hamlet was in Kosova as part<br />

of its project to visit every country in the<br />

world. Tickets were five Euro apiece and the<br />

theatre was sold out.<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong>’s no stranger in South East<br />

Europe. He may not have been thinking of<br />

the Balkans when he set Twelfth Night in<br />

Illyria, but that was the ancient name of a<br />

Amanda Wilkin<br />

as Osric (left) and<br />

Naeem Hayat as<br />

Hamlet.<br />

nation which – depending on who you talk to<br />

– stretched from the Adriatic coast of Albania<br />

to parts of Macedonia, Greece, Montenegro<br />

and Croatia. And even though his geographical<br />

knowledge may well have been dubious at<br />

best (that famous sea-coast of Bohemia), the<br />

plays themselves continue to exert a fascination<br />

across East and South East Europe.<br />

In communist times, Macbeth proved<br />

singularly popular with renowned Albanian<br />

writer Ismail Kadare. Presumably its forensic<br />

examination of the mechanics of tyranny<br />

offered some hope that Albanian dictator<br />

Enver Hoxha’s repressive regime wasn’t wholly<br />

<br />

SHAKESPEARE magazine 51

Hamlet in Kosova<br />

Keith<br />

“When Hamlet flings out the<br />

question ‘Am I a coward?’<br />

someone shouts back ‘Yes!’ in a<br />

distinctly Kosovan accent”<br />

unique and might well, like Macbeth’s,<br />

plunge into self-destruction. And it’s still<br />

popular now, possibly because, nearly 25<br />

years after the Berlin Wall came down, the<br />

political landscape in parts of SE Europe still<br />

bears more than a passing resemblance to<br />

the cynically despotic regime depicted in the<br />

Scottish play.<br />

At the other extreme, A Midsummer<br />

Night’s Dream also seems to be a favourite<br />

– over the last year or so, I’ve narrowly<br />

missed productions of it in both Tirana<br />

and Dubrovnik – while, in Kosova, recent<br />

productions include the endlessly tangled<br />

Bartlett as<br />

Old Hamlet (left)<br />

and Jennifer Leong<br />

as Ophelia.<br />

Love’s Labour’s Lost, translated and directed<br />

by Ben Apolloni. “Yes, the language itself was<br />

a bit tricky,” he says, laconically, “but people<br />

seemed to enjoy it.”<br />

The Globe’s Hamlet has attracted<br />

the great and good from both Prishtina’s<br />

indigenous elite and the copious ex-pat<br />

community. I tip-toe down a row of people to<br />

find my seat, muttering ‘Me fal, me fal’, only<br />

to discover that the people I’m apologising<br />

to are all embassy staff and employees of<br />

EULEX, KFOR, OSCE and other mysterious<br />

international bodies.<br />

My Kosovan friends are six or seven<br />

52 SHAKESPEARE magazine

Hamlet in Kosova <br />

rows back – a handful of playwrights and<br />

directors spread out amongst bureaucrats and<br />

diplomats. Early on, when Hamlet himself<br />

flings out the question “Am I a coward?” and<br />

someone shouts back “Yes!” in a distinctly<br />

Kosovan accent, it’s a shame that this turns<br />

out to be a set-up.<br />

It’s a tough call, producing a version of<br />

Hamlet which, despite language difficulties,<br />

might be understood by audiences in every<br />

country of the world. Director Dominic<br />

Dromgoole’s done a good job, and while<br />

this is almost certainly the cheeriest version<br />

of Hamlet I’ve ever seen, the music, the<br />

Laertes (Tom<br />

Lawrence) and Hamlet<br />

(Ladi Emeruwa) test<br />

each other’s mettle.<br />

ensemble playing, the clothes-peg, DIY feel<br />

of the whole production transmits a freshness<br />

that clearly goes down well in Kosova. It’s<br />

not, perhaps, the deepest investigation of the<br />

play’s psychological complexities, but, much<br />

in the style of the BBC’s mission statement, it<br />

informs, it educates, it entertains.<br />

Acting-wise, I can’t name names because<br />

there isn’t a programme, but individual<br />

performances aren’t really the point – even<br />

Hamlet’s. This is a production which thrives<br />

on its collective energy, on putting across<br />

the passion of the story even if that means<br />

glossing over some of the nuances. It’s about<br />

<br />

SHAKESPEARE magazine 53

Hamlet in Kosova<br />

“While<br />

Xpxppp xpx px ppx<br />

px pxp xpp xp xpxp<br />

pxp xp xpp xxpp xpx<br />

pxpp xppx<br />

this is<br />

the cheeriest<br />

version of<br />

Hamlet I’ve<br />

ever seen, the<br />

production<br />

transmits a<br />

freshness that<br />

clearly goes<br />

down well in<br />

Kosova”<br />

putting <strong>Shakespeare</strong> out there and proving<br />

that, as a playwright, one of his greatest<br />

strengths is that his scripts can survive<br />

whatever treatment might be necessary.<br />

Presumably, that’s because he wrote them in<br />

the rough-and-tumble, the hurly-burly of<br />

real-life Renaissance theatre.<br />

In Prishtina, the reaction’s intriguingly<br />

poised. In the aftermath, we mill around the<br />

foyer, drinking glasses of wine. The British<br />

Ambassador goes through the glad-handing<br />

thing, while the rest of us make the most of<br />

proffered things-on-sticks and the generous<br />

free bar.<br />

John Dougall as<br />

Claudius.<br />

Two Kosovan theatre directors acknowledge<br />

the importance of a British company visiting<br />

their partially recognised country, but have<br />

questions about what they’ve just seen. What<br />

about the tragedy? What about Ophelia? Is<br />

this what most contemporary productions of<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong> in Britain are like?<br />

Perhaps the most interesting suggestion<br />

is that, had The Globe not been parachuted<br />

in and had instead been given time to work<br />

with local directors, writers and actors,<br />

it might have been possible to explore<br />

connections between Hamlet and traditional<br />

Kosovan and Albanian stories. Maybe that’s<br />

54 SHAKESPEARE magazine

Hamlet in Kosova <br />

something for the future – rather than<br />

simply turning up and staging <strong>Shakespeare</strong>,<br />

a more long-term, collaborative approach<br />

might yield impressive results.<br />

On the night, of course, much of this<br />

is relegated to ‘items for future discussion’.<br />

Some of us turn in – others choose to ignore<br />

Polonius’s unimaginative advice to be sane<br />

and mediocre, and instead hit the town.<br />

According to reports the following day, the<br />

party goes on until four in the morning.<br />

Hamlet has been a hit, but with a proviso.<br />

Theatre-makers in Kosova really appreciate<br />

visiting British companies and the chance to<br />

Ladi Emeruwa (left)<br />

alternates the role of<br />

Hamlet with Naeem<br />

Hayat.<br />

Right: Miranda Foster<br />

as Gertrude.<br />

see new productions, but that’s only the start<br />

of the story.<br />

Climbing onto the bus for Montenegro,<br />

I get the feeling that, here, in South East<br />

Europe, there’s a whole hinterland of<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong>-related potential which still has<br />

to be properly explored.<br />

<br />

Follow Globe to Globe Hamlet<br />

http://globetoglobe.shakespearesglobe.com<br />

SHAKESPEARE magazine 55

Next issue<br />

We hope you’ve enjoyed Issue Four of <strong>Shakespeare</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong>.<br />

We’ll be back next month with another shedload of <strong>Shakespeare</strong><br />

shenanigans, including these...<br />

Which witches?<br />

<br />

Madness, music and Macbeth with Filter Theatre.<br />

Don’t lose your head<br />

<strong>Shakespeare</strong> and the Tower of London.<br />

<br />

American <strong>Shakespeare</strong> Center<br />

<br />

We take a Bard-themed road trip to Staunton, Virginia.<br />

If walls could talk...<br />

Staging <strong>Shakespeare</strong> in historical spaces.

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