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  • Writer's pictureJOE WOODWARD

The Shakespeare Argument

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Cutting Open the Corpse of Romantic Love

I argued with my girlfriend at school as to which Shakespeare play was best: "Hamlet" or "King Lear"? I argued for "King Lear" while she was determined that "Hamlet" was a far superior play. I still think "King Lear" with its pitting of generations against each other is a most powerful work while "Hamlet" is a terrific melodrama. But now I am working on "Troilus and Cressida" and we are in totally different territory. The play isn't a melodrama or a tragedy ... and certainly not a comedy! Yet Shakespeare's totally cutting open the corpse of romantic love plunges the knife into later romanticism and 21st century Narcissism! There is nothing in Shakespeare's canon that suggests anything like his concepts in "Troilus and Cressida"!

Australian theatre companies love Shakespeare. His works are presented more than any other author and certainly more often in Australia than any Australian author. But what is presented? Cliche ridden productions of sentimental interpretations of emotionally narcissistic 21st Century friendly Shakespeare! "Romeo and Juliet" without the power play dimensions? "Comedy of Errors", Shakespeare's meaningless crap with funny situations? Macbeth with the supposedly psychological dimensions with relevance for politics today? Come on ...

I suggest if you want something more critical and more in tune with Shakespeare's relevance for today's world, then "Troilus and Cressida" has far more to offer. I am not writing a thesis on this; though I might one day!

I suggest you come and see our production to verify if I am full of it or not:

Fully licensed bar opens at 6.15 for show at 7.00pm.

No more text: Come and witness the work ...

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