Was dark lady the real writer of the Bard’s works?

New Globe di­rec­tor to stage play on poet which claims she penned Shake­speare’s clas­sics

The Daily Telegraph - - News - By Anita Singh ARTS AND EN­TER­TAIN­MENT EDI­TOR

THE new artis­tic di­rec­tor of Shake­speare’s Globe is to be­gin her first sea­son with a play ex­plor­ing the the­ory that a woman may have writ­ten some of the Bard’s plays.

Michelle Terry has com­mis­sioned a writer to pro­duce a dar­ing new work on Ae­milia Bas­sano, a pub­lished poet in her day and the mis­tress of Henry Carey, first cousin of El­iz­a­beth I.

Born into a Jewish fam­ily with Vene­tian ori­gins and mar­ried to an Ital­ian mu­si­cian, she is thought by some aca­demics to be the “Dark Lady” who in­spired Shake­speare’s son­nets of the same name. Others have gone fur­ther, claim­ing she authored some of his work.

It is a rad­i­cal sug­ges­tion dis­missed by most his­to­ri­ans, but Terry is open-minded on the ques­tion of whether Shake­speare wrote the plays that bear his name.

“My view is: whether it was one man, one woman or 10 peo­ple, it ex­ists. And no one else, or no other body of peo­ple, has ever matched it. It is the great­est of­fer­ing to lit­er­a­ture that has ever been made,” she said. Terry re­places Emma Rice, who re­peat­edly clashed with the board over her ex­per­i­men­tal pro­duc­tions fea­tur­ing am­pli­fied sound and ar­ti­fi­cial light­ing rigs.

Rice’s re­cent stag­ing of Romeo and Juliet fea­tured nu­clear war­heads, pound­ing mu­sic, and Juliet’s father dancing to disco mu­sic in a di­nosaur cos­tume. The job de­scrip­tion stip­u­lated that the new post holder must re­turn to the old way of do­ing things.

“That de­ci­sion has been made. There will be no am­pli­fied sound, there will be no im­posed light­ing rig,” she said, de­scrib­ing the the­atre as “a raw, naked space” in which the abil­ity to see the au­di­ence from the stage is para­mount.

She promised an “un­plugged” ap­proach and sug­gested that dur­ing Rice’s ten­ure some­thing of the Globe’s unique­ness was lost. “My of­fer to a di­rec­tor would be: if you want to do disco-dancing Ca­pulets, if you want to get peo­ple to dance in a pro­duc­tion… go as far as you can with your imag­i­na­tion, and then un­plug it. What can you do with a drum? Peo­ple dance to ceilidhs every night of the week and that’s a drum and a fid­dle. What can you do to un­plug your idea?

“Every other the­atre can do lights and sounds. What is unique to the Globe is that we don’t.”

She has read every Shake­speare play and “loves all of them” – a con­trast to Rice who, in a quote that came back to haunt her, said she would rather lis­ten to The Archers than plough through some of his texts.

An ac­tress by trade, Terry has no di­rect­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. “Luck­ily I’m not go­ing to di­rect, so no­body has to worry about that. I think it’s a skill that I don’t have, and my pas­sion is act­ing,” she said, adding that she hoped to ap­pear in one pro­duc­tion per sea­son.

Terry pledged to con­tinue Rice’s pol­icy of a 50:50 gen­der split in all pro­duc­tions, promis­ing to be “gen­der blind, race blind and dis­abil­ity blind”. Her no­table Shake­spearean roles in­clud­ing play­ing the lead Henry V at the Open Air The­atre in Re­gent’s Park.

Terry got the job after send­ing a let­ter to the Globe’s chief ex­ec­u­tive “pledg­ing al­le­giance and say­ing I’d love to be part of the artis­tic con­ver­sa­tion”. He wrote back sug­gest­ing she make a for­mal ap­pli­ca­tion.

Jok­ing that she hoped to sur­vive in the job at least un­til Christ­mas, she added: “I take great courage in the fact that they are tak­ing an enor­mous risk by putting an ac­tor in this po­si­tion. I think that smacks of brav­ery. That gives me great hope.”

‘My view is: whether it was one man, one woman or 10 peo­ple, it ex­ists and no one else or no other body of peo­ple has ever matched it’

Bas­sano by Ni­cholas

Hil­liard from

1590. Michelle

Terry, left, the new Globe di­rec­tor, is stag­ing a play that sug­gests she might have had a hand in Shake­speare’s works

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.