Thursday, May 3, 2012

Shakespeare at Large

I'm just going to come out and say it: Troilus and Cressida is .... no, I can't. It's like saying something bad about Mother Teresa. Let me try this again: Troilus and Cressida is.... not the best thing Shakespeare ever wrote.

As a student and teacher of early modern culture, I appreciate the Achilles/Patroclus storyline, and it's great to see the raving, psychic Cassandra in the flesh, but I'm going to go out on a limb here and label this the loosest, most meandering drama in the Bard canon. It takes place seven years in to the Trojan War when both sides are wondering if Helen is really worth it anymore. Everyone is tired, and so is the structure of the play. Which is probably the point. So, is it worth your time to watch it on stage?

Last Friday I saw a production of T and C performed by Boston's Actors Shakespeare Project and directed by my personal idol, Tina Packer. It's a tribute to the actors' talent and the director's vision that I actually enjoyed myself and didn't check my watch once. The intimate space of the Modern Theatre at Suffolk University was ideal for bringing the characters' myopic paranoia and their meaningless, repetitive displays of manhood into sharp relief.

The show runs through May 20th.

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