Folger Library to do a Restoration Period Production of MACBETH


Strange Perfection

Great idea–Restoration Period production . . . worked out on today’s stage, which might resemble the Restoration Proscenium, but probably not the Elizabethan stage . . . if We were to do a play of Shakespeare’s in a year, and move through successive ages, choosing representative productions, via production notes and texts used in the theaters, providing availability, that would be something . . .

Yes, I mean, what about Roccoco Shakespeare, or Romantic Shakespeare, or Shakespeare in the Victorian age–a Fin de Siecle Shakespeare? We could re-examine the writers, the diarists, the critics of the age and glean reception and view and the contemporary understanding, at least in microcosm–the glories of subjectivity because the subjective view is not always glorious, but we can find when it is.

Edwardian Shakespeare would look like what? Feel like what? What about Berlin Weimar Shakespeare–how would that look? What about Shakespeare in German under the Nazis? What about other interpretations of Shakespeare? How do the Italians do ROMEO AND JULIET? How do the Danes do HAMLET? How is MacBeth done in Edinburg? London Shakespeare in the 30s and London Shakespeare after the War. Shakespeare in New York during the Depression.

I’ve seen Kurosawa’s Shakespeare, his Lear in RAN, his MacBeth in THRONE OF BLOOD; but Japanese stage productions . . . how was Shakespeare done on the Japanese stage? When was the first Japanese production and was it devoted to Westernizing, as we used to say, or was it presented through more conventional Japanese stage methods and aesthetics? KaBuKi Shakespeare?

I would also love to see an all black cast except for a white Othello in OTHELLO; I’d love it if an all blaCK CAST WERE TO do Othello with a black actor playing Othello in White Face . . . no? Yes? When?

What was pre-Revolution Moscow Theater Shakespeare and what was Shakespeare in Russia after the Revolution and Civil War, in Lenin’s Moscow? The other language productions in the space of time they were to be performed could be one night in the original language and another night in a translation of the text used . . . yes, that’s right, translate the translation so as to attempt the feel of difference–

Time would be spent, devoted, to delivering a very good accurate yet stage fluent translation of the translation.


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