The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.214  Monday, 28 April 2014


From:        Al Magary <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         April 28, 2014 at 2:08:05 AM EDT

Subject:    Hilary Mantel on Shakespeare’s History Plays


The Royal Shakespeare Company has been producing a double bill based on Hilary Mantel’s twin-Booker novels about Thomas Cromwell, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies.  The author was interviewed in the Guardian:


Did you find yourself going back to Shakespeare's history plays when the idea of this production came about?


I discovered Shakespeare for myself when I was about 10. No one told me it was difficult so I didn’t think it was. Reading Shakespeare was always pure pleasure. But the way that the history plays were presented is not how we do history today. People sometimes say to me: “Why do you make a fetish of historical accuracy? Shakespeare didn’t”. My answer is always simply “I am not Shakespeare”. He could get away with anything.


The production, starring Ben Miles as Cromwell, is moving from Stratford to the West End (Aldwych Theatre, May 1-September 6).  The director, Jeremy Herrin, commented on our Tudor fascination:


“You can find out a lot about who we are now by looking through the prism of history,” Herrin suggests, arguing that it is this “sense of where our nation was defined” that continues to inspire our fascination with the Tudor era. “It’s one of those stories that every generation can look at again and find different meaning in,” he says. “There’s also a sort of horror about the tyranny underneath those facades that we’re really keen to revisit and to analyse.”


Let me see, will the RSC productions turn up on BBC or Masterpiece Theater?



Al Magary


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