Shakespeare Solved ®

Shakespeare Solved ® is a forthcoming series of novels that covers the Bard's entire life and work.

These novels solve the mysteries surrounding Shakespeare by transporting us back in time, to walk in his shoes, and see his world through his eyes.

Only when we see Shakespeare in his original historical context can we understand what his plays and poems really mean.

This blog explains some of my ideas and discoveries, to prepare for this series of novels.

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Monday, March 21, 2016

Shakespeare's Globe The Tempest

I just watched the DVD for Shakespeare’s Globe 2013 production of The Tempest last night.

What a remarkable production!

It is one of my very favorite Shakespeare plays, and this is a very entertaining production. It is definitely the funniest!

I am not a professional theatre critic, but I wanted to share some of my thoughts with you.

Director Jeremy Herrin assembled some wonderful actors together and brought the play to life in a fresh new way. His artistic choices as far as music and costume, which have a great rustic and rawness to them, are excellent.

The entire ensemble is great, but I should point out some of the chief roles:

Jessie Buckley, Roger Allam and Joshua James

Roger Allam, to me, is one of Britain’s greatest national treasures, and he is perfect as Prospero. He strikes a wonderful balance between the lonely sorcerer, the stern but loving father, and the man who seeks vengeance upon those who stranded him on this island.

Jessie Buckley and Roger Allam

Jessie Buckley as Miranda is delightful as she grows up way too fast after the shipwreck and falls in love. She also strikes a great balance between naive and young, and smart and good. She is also the most easily excited Miranda I’ve ever seen, and I love the way she leaps into Ferdinand’s arms. Hilarious!

Colin Morgan

Colin Morgan as Ariel is a revelation. He is very strong and athletic, and makes the most of the stage, by climbing, swinging and coming in and out of scene. But he is also very serene and obediant in a way that I have never seen before. And Mr. Morgan has an excellent singing voice.

James Garnon, Sam Cox and Trevor Fox

For Shakespearean comedy, I don’t think there are very many actors who can match Sam Cox as Stephano or Trevor Fox as Trinculo. They are worth their weight in gold, and they steal every moment they are in. I especially love how Mr. Cox strikes poses like when he “meows” to Caliban. He is an absolute master of discovering hidden nuggets of humour in Shakespeare.

But the performance that surprised me the most was James Garnon as Caliban. I pity any actor who plays Caliban. It is a tough role, one of the most challenging in Shakespeare’s plays.

But Mr. Garnon takes on the challenge, and delivers an unforgettable performance. His Caliban is at turns scary, funny, unsettling, endearing, and very very compelling.

It makes you wonder, did Shakespeare write the entire play just for Caliban?

Even if Shakespeare did not, Mr. Garnon plays Caliban as it he is the star of a play all about him.

I found an interesting interview Mr. Garnon did — here.

As a veteran actor at The Globe, he finds that acting on that stage is very different, especially as far as the audience is concerned:

Mr. Garnon “explains that plays at The Globe are a shared game: soliloquies are not asides but a chat with the audience. The work is a two-way conversation from which the actor is continuously learning – each day’s performance affecting the next.”

With all due sincerity, I applaud him and congratulate him on discovering one of the great secrets of Shakespeare’s plays. I have written very often about how Shakespeare did not write soliloquies but rather colloquies, conversations with the audience.

I am so pleased that he is making an effort to bridge the divide between the actors and the audience. 

In all fairness, many of the Globe actors, especially Sam Cox and Trevor Fox, and many more including Mark Rylance, have and do involve the audience in the play. Mr. Garnon is not the only one who understands this. 

But with all due respect, there can be so much more of it, so much more back and forth between the stage and the crowd, than these great actors have attempted before.

I hope you buy this DVD and see this wonderful production for yourself. And while you are at it, there are many more great productions available on DVD in the Globe shop. So I hope you buy some more!

Here is the link to the Globe:


BUY NOW from Amazon

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