The Vortex Theatre is on its last weekend of shows in its last installment of the Will Power series—a run of Shakespearean productions. Leigh Hile reviewed The Winter’s Tale in this week’s Alibi. Check out her write-up to see why this might be one of the best slices of Shakespeare you’ll catch this year. Then head to one of the remaining three performances, including tonight’s at 7:30 p.m.
I’m not sure there was ever anything edgy or avant-garde about staging a Shakespeare play in modern day. Even if there was at one time, we can probably agree that’s no longer the case. In fact, setting Macbeth in postapocalyptic Detroit or Romeo and Juliet in whatever era you find stuffed in the community theater’s prop closet is so commonplace now that seeing a Shakespeare play in full 16th century regalia is becoming the rarity.
Speculating on whether Shakespeare actually penned the plays for which he is justifiably famous is the academic equivalent of wondering if Elvis is still alive. Famous people aren’t allowed to simply expire—they must be resurrected via silly conspiracy theories concerning their life, their death and the veracity of both. Now, Roland Emmerich, the blockbuster filmmaker who gave us Stargate and Independence Day, weighs in on the Shakespeare conspiracy.
Speculating on whether Shakespeare actually penned the plays for which he is justifiably famous is the academic equivalent of wondering if Elvis is still alive. Famous people aren’t allowed to simply expire—they must be resurrected via silly conspiracy theories concerning their life, their death and the veracity of both. It doesn’t matter if the figures are historical (Abraham Lincoln, Jack the Ripper) or pop cultural (Jim Morrison, Tupac Shakur): The unwashed masses will keep them alive with talk of murder, scandal, cover-up and conspiracy. (Michael Jackson, shake hands with Marilyn Monroe.) Very often, these conspiracies involve some preposterous leaps of logic—up to and including alien intervention.
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I know Shakespeare is, well, Shakespeare. Many diehard theater lovers consider him the best playwright to have ever grasped an ink-imbued instrument. Most actors and/or theater companies want to eventually try their iambic-pentameter-loving hands at one of the man’s plays. I realize this will put me on the blacklist of a number of theater patrons in town, but the question I always ask myself before seeing one of Shakespeare’s works on stage is: Why?