Abilementa,Vicenza Italia

Abilementa,Vicenza Italia

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Shakespeare Guide to Italy: Retracing the Bard's Unknown Travels

There is a feast of Shakespeare at the moment in London...with Italy never too far away....Where was the setting for The Taming of the Shrew ??? and Where did Portia of The Merchant of Venice come from ?you guessed it..Padova!
.The title of this post is taken from the theory espoused by Richard Roe in his book of the same name ,whose lifelong research was dedicated to Shakespeares Italian plays. Shakespeare was a well-travelled Englishman of intimate Italianate sensibilities ...dont get mislead by the buffoon portrayal of Shakespeare in the film Anonymous-despite its seductive high tech recreation of  London during the brief glory of Elizabethan theatre -see http://vimeo.com/35682569
Shakespeare was a man of means, with a well-rounded education -Oxford graduates as his teachers, his father was the mayor of Stratford and he wrote 8 plays after the Earl of Oxford died .The only other possible theory was that Christpher Marlowe may have staged his own death and lived secretly in Italy and co-authored the plays with Shakepeare. In the end who cares-this mystery only adds to the fascination of this awesome unraveler of the human condition .
Last night I saw the splendid and haunting BBC production of the The Hollow Crown -Richard II in the openair courtyard of The British Museum during their Shakespeare season.Maybe to relieve myself of the intensity of Ben Wishlaws portrayal of the frail boy-king, I kept on gazing up at the pillars of the museum and pinching myself to see if this was real or just a Midsummers Dream....... I had vivid  memories of my mother and father quoting famous lines in relation to their life experiences .
My partner has the same recerence for Shakespeare as well. He had an English teacher who was an Oxford graduate and he remembered the power and beauty of the words as his teacher spoke them even though he didnt undertsand what they meant..this was 50 years ago. in a Middle Eastern desert city ....in the hands of the Bard, theatre has power in any language ..recently theatre companies from around the world performed the plays in their own languages at The Globe--
..All the world is a Stage...rings true again..

Julius Ceasar being performed in Swahili at The Globe Theatre London 2012

This reproduction gown on display at The Globes Museum cost 20,000 pounds as the fabric was specially woven in Genova which is the only place where the authenic woven damask imported form Italy in 16th centuary is still being made----we hope these textile treasures continue to be produced..

 It is good to see Shakespeare is being honoured side by side the London Olympics but there is another sadbut true tale about a precedent to The Globe where Marlowe and Shakespeare performed-remnants of the first theatre in Elizabethan London , in danger of sinking and disintegrating-like Venice..the Rose Theatre but thats another  Shakespearian drama  unfolding as we speak !!!
Follow the link..www.rosetheatre.org.uk