Inside this week | Poor old Shakespeare

February 16th, 2013 10:00 am| by admin
facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

It really is bizarre to think that Shakespeare never saw a real woman perform in one of his plays. You really have to feel for him – I mean how many theatre directors today would do that job if they couldn’t shag their female lead?

Had Ophelia, Cordelia or Desdemona flown out of the pen of a playwright in any other European country, it wouldn’t have been a problem, but England persisted with this strange practice until 1660. “Look, there’s a woman on stage,” an Elizabethan might say. “Must be a prostitute,” was the standard reply.

 

This of course was the central premise of Shakespeare in Love: that a woman needed to pretend to be a pre-pubescent in order to play a woman, and it is a theme echoed in Shakespeare’s Women, a new play written by Ian Burns and Barry McKenna, which is set to make its worldwide premiere next Wednesday (see G2 for details).

 

In one scene, the two title characters wear beards in order to fool the Bard into conceding that the custom is ridiculous. It might not have the comedic wow factor of Some Like it Hot, or the dramatic punch of the end of Tootsie, but is sounds like it has a lot of potential.

 

Especially as Shakespeare can be quite sexy at times. While Hamlet and Ophelia have some pretty flirtatious moments (“Do you think I meant country matters,” the cheeky mare asks in Act 3 Scene 2), I’m a sucker for the femme fatales. One of my favourite ever lines is uttered by Regan in King Lear, moments after helping her husband gouge out somebody’s eyes. “Let him smell his way to Dover.” It cuts me to the bone every time. It wouldn’t be the same coming from an acne-ridden third grader with an Airfix glue habit.

 

And to think they called it the Golden Age. Anyhow, at least Shakespeare lasted the test of time, as I’m not sure Facebook and Twitter will be inspiring playwrights in 400 years time. Social Media Week (see G9) includes lots of events for technophobes who don’t know their trolling from their tagging.

 

And don’t forget children’s half-term (see G9), which either occurs in Week 7 or 8, depending on which council you live in.

 

Shakespeare wouldn’t have liked it as half his cast would have had the week off. Unless, of course, he was prepared to improvise.

Ulliel (left) has succeeded in inhabiting an even creepier character than the lead role he played in ‘Hannibal Rising’
Film review of ‘Saint Laurent’
In yet another example of the extraordinarily poor timing exhibited by the ...
They just scored a hund-in-one
What if Tiger’s immense golf talent had stayed in the woods?
Some of my fondest memories growing up in the Smith household back in Bligh...
Who’s to blame? Nerdy Smurf, Skinny Wallace, Mr Strong or Jolly Green Dwarf?
At Cinemas: Pixar’s latest Perisher pleaser is here
Providing your Danish is in good nick, there’s no shortage of releases th...
The Malmo stadium has a capacity of 24,000, but for CL games it's reduced to 20,500 due to restrictions on standing areas (photo: MT96)
Neighbours Malmö FF land Real Madrid and Zlatan Ibrahimović
Football fans south of the Øresund kept an eye on today's Champions League...
A similar view will await  Andreas Mogensen when he becomes the first Dane in space next week (photo: iStock)
Denmark needs to double its investment in the space industry, advises DI
Dansk Industri (DI), the Confederation of Danish Industry, has today recom...
The shipping and logistics company DFDS has more than doubled its operating profits this year in comparison to the first half of 2014 (photo: iStock)
Profits soaring at the top Danish companies
A study of the 2015 interim financial results of Denmark's 32 top companies...