During her performance of Viola in Twelfth Night, the West African audience stopped the play, they cheered so much.
I love this because in my adaptations I have the Elizabethan London audience stop the show occasionally, and for many different reasons. I instinctively believed that Shakespeare's audience would be far from polite and lack all of the theatre-going etiquette we have come to expect.
She also says that Shakespeare is wonderful for children because they can follow the broad strokes of the plays -- when people fall in and out of love, when they are greedy, etc.
I think that Shakespeare learned the importance of this as a child himself as he watched the morality plays and festival entertainment in Warwickshire. These plays would have characters named Vice and Loyalty, etc. Shakespeare had to entertain the most sophisticated and least sophisticated elements of society, from the Queen herself to the groundlings paying a penny to stand for a whole show. So the easiest way to communicate to any audience is to ground his plays with recognizable morality play characters.
Dame Judi also says that she doesn't like The Merchant of Venice because all of the characters behave appallingly.
Oh, she is so close!
She is so brilliant! She glimpsed a truth in the play that has eluded us for centuries.
If she understands that all of them are bad, Shylock, Antonio, Bassanio and even Portia (that so-called paragon of virtue and mercy) then she has gotten half of the play.
The other half she's missing is what that all means -- the bawdy farcical comedy side. Dame Judi doesn't get the joke.
Well, perhaps one day she will read my version of Merchant and laugh herself silly.
Dame Judi Dench and Listening to Shakespeare
Shakespeare In Love, Part Two?
James Bond 007 Skyfall and Shakespeare
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