Thursday, January 12, 2006

Dromgoole announces season of bold drama at the Globe London Theatre Guide

Dominic Dromgoole, the new Artistic Director at Shakespeare’s Globe, has marked the start of his tenure with a brave and controversial programme for 2006. In addition to four of the Bard’s own plays, the season will also include two entirely new plays by modern writers.

“I think boldness is at the heart of this place,” said Dromgoole. “I think it is a necessary risk – it’s important for the culture of writing.” Explaining his decision to take this artistic route, Dromgoole drew on the origins of the plays themselves. “Shakespeare was once a nervous writer who did not know how his plays were going to be received, and it’s important to retain that aspect in the work we do today.”

On his predecessor’s legacy at Shakespeare’s Globe, Dromgoole hailed the theatre’s history of daring productions as an unprecedented success. “Mark [Rylance, the former Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe] has gone down some extraordinary routes in the past, such as a three-person Tempest, performed to a near capacity audience,” he said. “Mark was never cynical with the audience – there has always been a commitment to Art. It has never been about heritage or putting on plays just because we know people will come to watch them. I think this is the most radical theatre in London.”

Based on the theme, The Edges Of Rome, the programme promises to explore the story of the Roman Empire and how it was portrayed in the age of Shakespeare, as well as its continuing influence today. “These plays possess a collection of social and political resonances that are pertinent to the present day,” said Dromgoole.

Coriolanus, the first production of the new season, is making its maiden performance at Shakespeare’s Globe. Directed by Dromgoole himself, this sharp political drama is set in the early Roman republic and follows the story of Caius Martius, a malcontent warmonger.
Titus Andronicus, Shakespeare’s first and great bloody tragedy, is the second production of the year, and another debutante at Shakespeare’s Globe. This production promises to be a spectacle of brutish energy, examining subjects such as war, rape, mutilation, murder, and the savage consequences of revenge.

Antony And Cleopatra returns to the venue in the summer, offering a new perspective on the infamous love affair and taking a fresh look at the political tensions that threatened the fate of the Empire. This production will be followed by the first new play at Shakespeare’s Globe this season, Under The Black Flag, by Simon Bent. This fantastic romp is the story of the historical pirate republic of Rabat and is told via the exploits of Long John Silver and his motley crew.

A Renaissance spin on a Roman story by Plautus, The Comedy Of Errors comes next, and will be directed by Chris Luscombe, who Dromgoole describes as “a comedy genius”. The final production of the season is In Extremis, by Howard Brenton, and is the second of the new plays. Set in 12th century France, this love story uses the relationship between Abelard and Heloise to explore the relationships between logic and religion, humanism and fundamentalism, faith and power.

On the cast list for the season, Dromgoole said: “I cannot give any details yet, as we have just started casting, but I can say that we are just about to land one or two very big names”.

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