Sher is right of course. It is precisely this kind of rubbish from Fellows that puts people off Shakespeare. Academics are probably the least able to interpret the Bard properly – too wrapped up in thier own arrogance.
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Have to agree with Richard Unwin. We get enough preaching from some historians, with all their weird notions, without needing to be fed it in the theatre as well. I have to say that sometimes (it seems) there can be too much education, and not enough sensitivity and flair.
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Anthony Sher is totally right. I have spent too much time in London with theater groups who insisted on reading Shakespeare before seeing the production and missing all of the joy and drama in the actual production. They didn’t understand the text and were too busy trying to understand the “dialogue” to enjoy the play! King Lear is not all that difficult – family dysfunction is pretty easy to understand. In my experience, this has been especially true when I’ve taken people to Restoration comedies. Audience members who think they must understand every word of dialogue rather than just following the outlines of the play and glorying in the acting and the hilarious antics of the characters. Ridiculous!
P.S.: Theater is in enough trouble without some dumb historian scaring off potential audiences with such foolishly snobbish statements.
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