Paris's Maillol Museum was founded in by Dina Vierny, a model and close associate for 19th and 20th-century sculptor Aristide Maillol. It is currently showing the …. An exhibition that is part of the French centenary commemorations for the end of World War I provides a fascinating historical and geographical eye-opener, centred on ….
Rosslyn Hyams visits powerful exhibitions of photos taken in central and east Africa, mainly of refugees and internally displaced people near and on the borders of the …. Bauer says …. The grounds ….
At the Bouffes, the actress held on for a bit, but not all that long, and there was no sense of public suspense because the performance had levelled out the landscape as one of being defined by the characters who stood there in relation to each other. He was much more convincing in his first production at the Bouffes in , which was of Timon of Athens. The oil prices were in turmoil and certainly in Britain we were in the midst of a recession the like of which we have never experienced; well, not until very recently.
But Brook was no more specific about the kind of city Athens was than was Shakespeare himself although he did volunteer the idea that it strangely resembled the Athens under the colonels, a town of corruption. At that time make-believe was natural: in religious painting you can see in Holland a Christ confronted with a Burgomeister and, in Italy, the good citizens of Venice. Until he was betrayed he was superlatively sunny, and then his smile became a snarl and by the last act he was bellowing with unforgiving rage.
Marx saw the acquisition of the power of money as the instrument of universal division, which in a capitalist society would become a god-like force alienating man from his fellows but also from himself as a social animal. You can see how this might apply even to King Lear , performed in the same year as Timon , but infinitely bleaker and more mythological, even though everything that happens does so because of the simple misinterpretation of duty, the quest for power, the breakdown of communication. Money, which Marx said was both the visible deity and the universal whore, distorts our view of what is important in life and turns all relationships into commercial exchanges.
Timon has no family or lover, not even a blood relation. The only women are prostitutes. Just as the cynic Apemantus is the only professional philosopher in Shakespeare, so Timon is the only professional sponsor.
And like Volumnia in that play, Timon is called upon to be a conciliator. His method of doing so, indirectly, is to commit suicide, symbolically removing hatred from the city and allowing Alcibiades to make peace with the State. Of course, it is significant that the home Timon leaves and excoriates is the city of Athens, birthplace of democracy, philosophy and theatre, the very city epitome of culture. Here a woolly-hatted Apemantus wandered among the dinner-suited fat cats and sycophants.
But in redefining the play in the world of a particular production, the director allows the audience to make the connections in both, and run both versions simultaneously. But still there is always something in every Shakespeare play that pulls us sharply back towards a sense of the time and place in which it was first performed. Today, I think we can appreciate the fact that many of the plays were performed in the open air by going to the new Shakespeare Globe on the South Bank.
In its language and its vivacity it contains everything I love about Jonson; and the whole play is like it. You get glints of the great seething city in Shakespeare, but nothing that comes off the page, and off every single page, like this:. We started rehearsing there at once, and moved in bit by bit. There were various problems on the opening night. It was a big success but the applause brought down some of the ceiling.
People had bits of plaster on their heads. Some of the ladies who came in their best dresses and furs got stuck to their seats. We kept the ticket prices low. I wanted that Elizabethan feeling where if you come to the theatre, you mix with all people — not just the rich. We had people sitting on the ground from the start. Actors were in close contact with the audience, reacting immediately with them.
The acting space was much further forward than it had been when it was a proscenium theatre. So we had this proximity with the audience but there was also this great, vast space reaching to the back wall — that was important to depict Timon after his exile. We put in steps coming up from the pit, so actors could make spectacular entrances.
We used cubes and boxes, very rough things. The designer wanted to find how we could make clothes that were free of associations, yet true to the actors. The Bouffes is now surrounded by Indian shops and restaurants but at that time there was nothing Indian in the area.
So our designer went to the African market nearby and got all sorts of fine cloths and made simple new shapes with them. These were definitely not modern dress, but simple clothes, to which you have no immediate connections — such as to Elizabethan or Victorian time — in your mind.
We continue to use that approach today.