I'm still really frightened about Shakespeare. Because I'm only interested in doing it if I can do it how I think it should be played in my mind's eye and which is so rarely achieved. Where someone is absolutely in the moment and as though they are inventing it and yet they have all the language, all the poetry and I've really only ever seen two people do it. Once was my mother's epilogue to As You Like It, Rosalind and, I don't know if you saw this programme, there was this amazing programme about Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies, that Nigel Hawthorne made. I think it was an Omnibus or something. She was talking about Shakespeare and she did a piece of Juliet. I suppose she must have been in her eighties, with these thick, thick glasses and myopic eyes. It just leapt of this scene; she was like a sixteen year old girl. She was Juliet. So, in fact it's another story, maybe it's not to be shared with you; I actually did go and see her. I wrote to her because I wanted a lesson on how to do Shakespeare. I'd been asked to do Twelfth Night and I didn't really feel a connection with Viola. She said, 'tell me about the first scene darling.' I said, 'I don't know, there's been this shipwreck, I don't know, I suppose she walks down centre stage and goes 'what country friends is this?' She said, 'oh no dear, no, no, no. She's just been shipwrecked; she's throwing up; she's got seaweed; she's just lost her brother; and the sailors are practically having to drag on her the stage; and she doesn't know where she is; 'what country friends is this?' And she did this extraordinary moment and I thought, 'my God this is it, this is the golden key to the door.'
4 WEEK SHORT COURSE: Shakespeare is, without doubt, the most produced playwright in British Theatre. His plays form the cornerstone of the classical repertoire. This course will look at how Shakespeare’s plays have survived onstage.
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