Thursday, January 13, 2011

Arts Reporting: 'Lost" Shakespeare Collaboration Double Falsehood Joins the Canon (Sky News)

From Sky News, thanks to @ShakespeareCub:

Lost Shakespeare Play Put Into Production
by Lucy McDonald, entertainment correspondent for Sky NewsDoouble Falsehood Mokitagrit Theatre Sky News

A controversial 'lost' play by Shakespeare is to be shown on stage for the first time since the 18th century. The inclusion of Double Falsehood in Arden's complete work's of Shakespeare last year inspired the Mokitagrit theatre company to mount a production.

Although the play is far from a household name, director Phil Wilmott said there is something for everyone. "There's lots of action, cliffhangers, romance, betrayal, friendship, rape and revenge... an action-packed story which everyone will enjoy," he told Sky News.

Double Falsehood is a tragicomedy thought to be based on a story in Cervantes' Don Quixote. It was first shown at London's Theatre Royal in 1727 - 150 years after it was written by the Bard. It was last shown somewhere in Covent Garden in 1793 - more than two centuries ago - so how will modern day audiences react?

Actor Simon Callow, who is in rehearsals for Twelfth Night at the National Theatre, said it is a good production but nowhere in the league of King Lear or Macbeth. "It's a very good, well-crafted, strongly-written today play but it is not one of the masterpieces of human literature," he said.

In Elizabethan times, when Shakespeare lived, many plays were written collaboratively - Double Falsehood with John Fletcher. But it was later tinkered with in the 18th century by the lawyer and pantomime writer Lewis Theobald. Experts say, although a bit of a hotchpotch, Shakespeare's writing shines through.

Wilmott said: "No one's claiming it is a lost masterpiece. There are some clunky moments in it but there are also some extraordinary magical moments where you go, 'Oh, yes, that bit is definitely by Shakespeare. It is fun working out what is by the master and what isn't - it is like a big jigsaw puzzle really."

This summer Double Falsehood will become more embedded in the canon when the Royal Shakespeare Company also does a production. So all's well that ends well.

Click to go to video report at Sky News, UK . . . .

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