Presented by Artes Christi and directed by Eugene Raggio, this is Hamlet on a huge scale for a tiny run. With almost 50 artists making up the cast and crew, this is a truly collaborative event incorporating a broad range of talents. Productions of this play often end up feeling like domestic dramas, as small casts can play out the intimate personal interactions between characters, but struggle to show the wider political frame that makes the central struggle for power matter so much. This version reveals how the ripples sent out from the epicentre that is Prince Hamlet affect people far beyond his circle of personal concern. It reminds us that this is a dynastic and a political drama, too.
Cymbeline, one of Shakespeare’s last plays, is almost never performed in this country, so this is a very special chance to see a rare and curious jewel.
Staged by Secret House at the Depot Theatre (formerly the site of Sidetrack), directed by Sean O’Riordan, this is a play full to the brim with exquisite imagery and strong characters. You will see many of the elements that made Shakespeare’s name – a wrongly accused woman, lost children, mistaken identities, families torn asunder and reconciled – built into a folktale that is almost gothic in style.
From Matriark Theatre, for three shows only, comes this lively, clever mash-up designed for school audiences. Get all the fun of the Italian Commedia dell’Arte, plus all the fun of Shakespeare’s best known and loved bits, rolled up together and rolled about a bit.
“Utilising slapstick, masks, stage combat, dance and stock characters, watch familiar Shakespearean references be transformed and invigorated.” – Read about the show here.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream Directed by Kip Williams, staged by Sydney Theatre Company, will be running at the Sydney Opera House Drama Theatre for the remainder of September and most of October.
The cast includes Rob Collins, Honey Debelle, Brandon McClelland and Rose Riley as the four young lovers. Josh McConville, who only recently was Hamlet, has diminished (or is it blossomed?) into Bottom. Paula Arundell as Titania should be a treat, and I’m sure Bruce Spence has had a Mechanical in him looking for an outlet for his whole career.
The publicity leans heavily on a darker take on this play being some kind of innovation. Dark has been the default on this piece for several decades now, and I don’t think we’ve seen a gauze fairy wing since Vivian Leigh, but I guess they need an angle.
Teaching this play last year gave me my first reason to dig down into it properly, and what I discovered is that it is primarily about transformation. Turning Bottom into an ass is only the most literal embodiment of all the many transformations we experience, each of which is shown here to be as glorious as it is terrifying: magic is transformation, but so is acting, and so, above all, is love.
Earlier in the year we posted a clip from the ABC’s current affairs talk show Q&A, in which host Tony Jones coaxed a commitment from Germaine Greer to return for more Shakespeare talk.
Greer and Q&A have followed through with a special edition of the program, arranged in conjunction with the Festival of Dangerous Ideas and filmed at the Sydney Opera House. They have assembled an exceptional panel to converse and comment, and I hope we will see some stimulating questions.
Join Q&A for a Shakespeare special on Monday 5th September from 8.30pm at the Sydney Opera House.
Answering your questions is this stellar panel:
The founder of the Bell Shakespeare company John Bell
Shakespeare scholar Germaine Greer
Actor and writer Kate Mulvany
Indigenous performer Kylie Farmer, who is translating the Bard into the Nyungar language
Philosopher A.C. Grayling