Shakespeare and our political moment
The ASP season for next year came out last Wednesday. ( The Downfall of DespotsCollapse )
Last night, we saw a broadcast of the RSC's Tempest
-- finishing out Shakespeare's jubilee year (2016 was the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death) with Shakespeare's last solo-authored play.
They had a teaser for ROME, and I thought it was just the next play they were doing, so I thought, "Julius Caesar
? Or Antony and Cleopatra
No, it's the whole next season -- Julius Caesar
, Antony and Cleopatra
, Titus Andronicus
. I'm excited. I mean, I'm meh on the first 2 plays, but the RSC has done such amazing productions recently that I'm at least interested to see what they do (if nothing else, we'll get to see them make great use of their visual resources -- they have an amazing stage, and amazing amounts of money, so their productions honestly feel worth watching for that alone), and to see how they comment on our current political moment.
In talking about next season, Gregory Doran (Artistic Director of the RSC) was like, "In this post-Brexit, post-Trump," and he just kinda looked at the ground in sadness as he was talking. (In talking about Lear
-- unwise breaking up of the kingdom -- IIRC he said that the Brexit vote happened the first day of rehearsals for the show.)
For their ROME season they're bringing back the director of Othello
(I forget for which play, but I'm real excited about that -- they evoked Abu Ghraib in that one, so I look forward to any politically-engaged play under that director) and have a woman director for one of the plays (again, I forget which one, but good on you RSC, and take note Hollywood).
And it feels so Shakespearean to use stories about Italy to talk about England :) (Now I'm curious to see a table of how many Shakespeare plays are set in Italy [or elsewhere] vs. set in England -- esp if we exclude the histories. A quick Google suggests that 1/3 of all Shakespeare's plays are set in Italy. Folgerpedia has a nice sortable table -- which also allows a quick at-a-glance that almost the only plays he sets in England are the histories; the only exception/s being The Merry Wives of Windsor in Shakespeare's modern-day, and King Lear and Cymbeline in mythic pre-Christian Britain.)
Oh, and the latter 2 plays in their ROME season are so great -- Titus
being always a trip, and Coriolanus
being a lesser-known play I've seen some really great productions of.