n Shakespeare in Southern Africa - Editorial
|© Publisher:||Institute for the Study of English in Africa (ISEA)|
|Journal||Shakespeare in Southern Africa|
|Publication Date||Jan 2011|
|Pages||V - VII|
Earlier this year I came across a review (by The Spectator's Lloyd Evans) of a Royal Shakespeare Company production of Romeo and Juliet that had clearly irked the reviewer. Evans disparages director Rupert Goold for "spectacular irrelevance" (84) in terms of the set, staging and effects but also criticises attempts to contrive relevance - or at least contemporary resonance - through, for instance, the use of regional British accents and anachronistic costuming. Trying to make the play "accessible" ("a new word for 'provincial', formerly a vice but now an obligation"), notes Evans, the RSC has made things more difficult for "those who have no previous experience of Shakespeare": such novices in fact "want the production conveyed directly and authentically, not burdened with add-ons and hotshot flourishes from alien traditions". So his objections, Evans claims, are not just the "sensitivities of a purist" or "fuddyduddy". Instead, he affirms, newcomers to Shakespeare, recent initiates and seasoned aficionados alike constitute a collective whose credo is "Nothing interests us in Shakespeare more than Shakespeare.
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