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Shakespeare’s Late Plays at Stratford, Ontario

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 March 2007

Stanley Wells
Affiliation:
University of Birmingham
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Summary

John Hirsch, Artistic Director of the Shakespeare Festival at Stratford, Ontario from 1981 to 1985, had hoped to stage all four of Shakespeare’s late plays in a single season but felt unable to run the financial risks, and it was left to his successor, John Neville, to take the plunge and base the 1986 season on three of them: Pericles, Cymbeline, and The Winter’s Tale. It is a pity that Mr Hirsch could not realize his ambition, for his 1982 production of The Tempest there was the only coherent version of the play I have seen, and whatever the virtues of Mr Neville’s season, coherence was not among them. He aimed instead at diversity within unity, engaging three different directors. Each avoided a generalized fairy-tale setting, and located the action within a specific period, but of widely different kinds: Pericles was set in the eighth century Byzantine empire, Cymbeline in the late 1930s, The Winter’s Tale in the nineteenth century.

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Shakespeare Survey , pp. 155 - 168
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 1988

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