The plays in the "Shakespeare Apocrypha" are rarely performed, yet many offer fantastic opportunities for staging. This section will discuss my experience of the apocrypha in performance, both in my own creative projects and in reviews of professional and amateur productions.
In June 2010, I acted as Dramaturg for the University of Warwick Shakespeare Society's rehearsed reading of Double Falsehood, which was performed in Warwick Art Centre's Ensemble Room as part of the Warwick Students' Arts Festival 2010.
My rehearsal diary for the reading can be found here: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Performance. I was particularly struck by how much tighter the play feels in performance than in reading. Most notable were the ongoing negotiations of Leonora with notions of parental authority - whether critiquing Julio's over-obedience to Camillo, using her own mother's precedent or appearing to obey her father in public. This, of course, fits in extremely nicely with the Duke's assertion of patriarchal authority in the final scene and Theobald's overriding 18th century concern with a normative familial hierarchy.
I was also pleased to see a definitive dramatic patterning recurring throughout the play. The Duke, Roderick and Don Bernard act to seal bonds of friendship and love between numerous parties: Roderick for Camillo and Don Bernard in 3.3, Don Bernard between Henriquez and Leonora in 3.2, the Duke between Henriquez and Violante, Julio and Leonora, Julio and Henriquez in 5.2. This repeated triangular patterning became really clear in rehearsal and was quite exciting to see come alive with no planning, as well as the basic symmetry of the final scene that reunites two sets of lovers, two sets of fathers and children and two brothers.
Cast and Creatives
Director/Prologue: Sophie Gilpin
Dramaturg and Introduction: Pete Kirwan
Julio: Tom Hutchinson
Henriquez: Simon Neill
Leonora: Emma Taylor
Violante: Joanna Foakes
Roderick: Sam Sturrock
Camillo: Lawrence Gibson
Don Bernard: Nick Collins
Duke/Citizen: Josh Cockcroft
Master of the Flocks/Gerald/Servant: Tim Kaufmann
Lopez/Shepherd 1: Ronnie Bassett
Fabian/Shepherd 2: Sam Jefferyes
Epilogue/Maid: Lily Walker
Rehearsals with the cast of Cheek by Jowl's Cymbeline
A Yorkshire Tragedy (Tough Theatre)
Arden of Faversham (Theatr Clwyd)
Arden of Faversham (Em-Lou Productions)
Double Falsehood (Warwick Shakespeare Society)
Double Falsehood (KDC)
Double Falsehood (Nottingham Playhouse)
Double Falsehood (MokitaGrit)