In 2013, Penelope Wilton, in one of the series of masterclasses she regularly conducts in the Department of Theatre, Film and Television, conducted a rehearsal of Act 2 Scene 1 of Thomas Middleton’s Women Beware Women.
In 2006 she had played the role of Livia in Middleton’s great tragedy, to critical acclaim, for the Royal Shakespeare Company in the Swan Theatre at Stratford-upon-Avon.
She particularly relishes Middleton’s style of writing, values the distinctive quality of the experiences his plays offer, and wished to explore the demands and challenges he poses to his performers with a group of York students.
The performers are: Eliza Shea (Livia), Nick Armfield (Hippolito), Anna Thirkettle (Isabella).
This post by Mike Cordner originally appeared on The Dutch Courtesan project website. We interviewed Oliver Ford Davis in 2013.
The Olivier Award-winning actor Oliver Ford Davies is a Professional Associate of the Department of Theatre, Film and Television at the University of York and gave the 2011 Cantor Modern Art Lecture at the University on Did Gertrude Know? Some Problems in Performing Shakespeare.
On 2nd July, Michael Billington wrote an article for the Guardian asking ‘Is it OK to rewrite classic plays?’ Billington’s article, in which he raises concerns about the perceived need to simplify early modern plays for a modern audience, has sparked a heated discussion, but offers our production of The Dutch Courtesan as an example of actors
‘taking a tricky play and making it totally accessible through their vocal clarity.’
The Billington article briefly discusses the RSC‘s A Mad World My Master’s, which makes substantial changes to the original text, but follows a much longer conversation with Michael Cordner at our ‘Jacobean Theatre Now’ event.
The full film of this discussion is now available: