Photo by Don Kellogg

Thursday, December 1, 2016


It's a hoity-toity theatre event.  The East Village.  New York Theatre Workshop.  Shakespeare reimagined.  Sam Gold directed.  Stars.  The audience physically contained in a plywood encased barracks crafted in what once was the theatre. Stark lighting.  Extremely uncomfortable wooden seating - especially for a daunting 3+ hour runtime.  A trend that is much like the "actors are musicians on stage the whole time" we experienced a few years back.

By any measure, this one is a limousine liberal's wet dream.  And if you really like Shakespeare, it is unclear if you will even appreciate this production.  I can only say this from reading reviews and blogs by people who both love and revere the man.   I, for one, do not like Shakespeare much.  At intermission I left.  There was no love lost - just 90 minutes of my life.

Clearly this is a serious work.  Clearly Shakespeare is powerful stuff.  Much of that was lost on me.  I was bored to tears.  Nobody talks like this.  Nobody speaks in research paper paragraph monologues. Throw in Daniel Craig (Lago) and David Oyelowo (Othello).  They sold out the run before they even spoke a word earlier this season.  The acting I saw was absolutely top notch.  Creatively, the juxtaposition of the language with the plywood barracks and modern military outfits and street clothes was mostly jarring.  This is not your grandfather's classic Shakespeare.  Most of those who were interested by just hearing about it will love it. I doubt this will turn any undecided voters into Shakespeare lovers.

Save your ass.  Save your evening.  Read about it in the Arts & Leisure section of the NY Times.