Saturday, 23 April 2016

What is Shakespeare's Greatest Play: VI

To mark the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare's death (generally believed to be April 23rd), Portsmouth Point blog asked PGS staff to tell us their favourite (and least favourite) Shakespeare plays, favourite characters and favourite productions. Here are choices from Mr Robinson and Ms Meadows.


Mr Robinson

Mark Rylance as Richard III
What is your favourite Shakespeare play and why?
 It's Midsummer Night's Dream. What can I say? I'm a sucker for magic and moonlight.

What is your least favourite Shakespeare play and why?
Cymbeline. I think Shakespeare was having a migraine when he wrote it, which is fitting, because that's how I feel when I read it. I've also acted in it twice. Pity me.

Who is the greatest Shakespeare character and why?
I think it has to be Hamlet. He is Shakespeare's Everyman. The themes and emotions he travels through, and takes us on - grief, fear, anger, revenge, death, regret, fulfilment - are both universal and personal, intellectual and emotional. When the text and great performances of it come together, audiences are left changed.

Who is the greatest Shakespeare villain and why?
Iago, inevitably. Yes, his motivation is partially racial, partially due to be passed over for promotion - however, he seems mostly driven by a primal desire to destroy and ruin, a character without conscience, a sociopath. In this sense, his lack of reason, and singularity of purpose, is terrifying.

Which Shakespearean character would you be most likely to fall in love with and why?
Helena from Midsummer Nights Dream. I've always had a bit of a thing for tall women.

What is the best production of a Shakespeare play that you have seen and why (theatre, film or both - choose as many examples as you wish)?Or you could talk about other adaptations (such as books, poems, etc)
I've been lucky and seen a few, so it's tricky. For the sake of argument, let me say Richard III at the Globe, with Mark Rylance, our greatest current actor, playing Richard. Hilarity and moral darkness in equal measure. To capture an audience so completely with the sound of helicopters overheard is challenging enough - but to capture the essence of such a complex and divisive character is tougher still. Stunning.

Ms Meadows

1.   What is your favourite Shakespeare play and why?

I really like all the tragedies as they are about human nature, human relations and human weaknesses and I love to see different directors' and actors' interpretations.  If I had to choose one it would probably be King Lear.

2.        What is your least favourite Shakespeare play and why?
I am not keen on the comedies ... unless they are done really, really well.

3.        Who is the greatest Shakespeare character and why?
There are so many compelling and intriguing characters who offer different things, so it is difficult to choose.  Mine would have to be drawn from the tragedies and would be a matter of personal choice.   Lear is not ‘great’ in his choices and character but he is very compelling and is a sympathetic character.  I would probably go with him.


4.        Who is the greatest Shakespeare villain and why?
             I think it has to be Iago.  He is just so dreadful.  Lady Macbeth gains my sympathy at the end so it can’t be her.

5.        Which Shakespearean character would you be most likely to fall in love with and why?
I can’t imagine falling in love with any of them.  However, I think I would be drawn to Iago for all the wrong reasons.  Examining him from too close  a proximity and risking being burned.  I would probably want to try and reform him, too, which would be a recipe for disaster.

Patrick Stewart as Macbeth
6.        What is the best production of a Shakespeare play that you have seen and why? 
There are so many.  I saw ‘Romeo and Juliet’ some years ago.  The first ‘colour blind’ production I had seen, set in Cuba.  It was bright and vibrant and exciting.  I went back to see all three performances on all three nights that week.  Patrick Stewart’s ‘Macbeth’was amazing, too.  The witches were corpses in body bags and the atmosphere was close and tense.  It really appealed to my dark senses and love of symbolism (as anyone who has been taught by me will appreciate).  I went to see a production of ‘Othello’ at the National Theatre some years ago and was truly terrified - the power of live theatre.  Also, Anthony Sher as Richard in Stratford was unforgettable.  The Titchfield Players’ ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ was fantastic.  Hilariously funny.  It takes a lot to engage me in the comedies.  I have seen some pretty dreadful productions, too.  The worst was ‘Cymbeline’, where all the players wore blacks and nothing in their performances distinguished one from the other.  It was the longest night and I was completely lost!





No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments with names are more likely to be published.