The problem with Shakespeare…

It is extremely hard to fault Shakespeare’s writing,  – It is however easy to fault the way it is being performed and taught at schools. Now, don’t get me wrong – I absolutely adore the traditional staging of the best Shakespeare – as long as it is done well. I can however understand how people hate Shakespeare, when their only experience of it, is these productions and what they have learnt at school. Learning Shakespeare in English can be dull and repetitive. Without seeing Shakespeare how it’s supposed to be presented- in the theatre tacking social issues- it is extremely hard to fully appreciate Shakespeare’s work.

On a recent trip to Warwick University for an interview, I met someone who I chatted a lot to about Shakespeare- and I thought she was completely right in what she was saying – one of her ideas on to make Shakespeare more relevant- was to stage Romeo and Juliet in modern day America; Juliet would be a middle-class white girl, and Romeo would be a black boy from a rural background. To highlight the racial issues in America right now – bringing a dated plot into the 21st century. A similar idea that I had for Hamlet was to stage it in a second world country, looking at the government officials- to explore into the corruption of government – or even staged in a first world country. Shakespeare is so surprisingly relevant and can easily be used as a revolutionary tool. Yet people seem to feel that it is dated and boring. Shakespeare is so versatile- anything can be done with it; race bends; Gender twists; country changes- anything to bring it to the modern day- which is why I don’t understand why it is so taboo? The writing is beautiful, and the plots are generally very good. I would just like to see more Shakespeare, and it brought to the modern day so it can reach a wider audience. I want to see Shakespeare taught how it was meant to be presented. Not through some back-end irrelevant production of it.


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