If “Henry VIII” is dramatically lacking when compared to Shakespeare’s other histories, what makes this production worthwhile is the care Actors’ Shakespeare Project has brought to staging it.
BTC’s experiment, while not without its faults, proffers an admirable model of the sort of creative thinking that more companies should emulate when placing Shakespearean drama in a contemporary American context.
Actors’ Shakespeare Project’s production is a fine start to the company’s tenth aniversary season and an impressive realization of its founding mission statement — for this company, story and the actor’s craft trump directorial conceits.
From the first clearly projected lines to the last, it’s obvious that director Julianne Boyd set out to direct a production of Much Ado where language rules supreme.
This production of Shakespeare’s ‘The Merchant of Venice” tries to have it both ways: a show about intolerance, bigotry, and hatred is set in a ‘politically correct’ past.
This daring musical version of “The Merchant of Venice” provides a fascinating re-imagining of a classic play that explores many of the themes and tropes of the original more deeply than many modern productions do.
Shakespeare’s “Coriolanus” deals with the difficultly of recognizing superiority at a time of radical social breakdown, specifically when it is democracy that is in extremis.
We are a long way from the love-destroyed-by-hostility pieties of Romeo and Juliet, but Actors’ Shakespeare Project director Tina Packer wants to make Troilus and Cressida fit into that reassuring and earnest mold.
As this is his only work which Shakespeare himself titles ‘comedy,’ a company may feel an obligation to elicit laughter. Ironically, this duty can become burdensome.