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Talking Shakespeare

Notes from a Journey


Louis Fantasia

Talking Shakespeare is a collection of essays on Shakespeare’s plays and politics and their impact in the world today. Originally given as provocative talks on Shakespeare at some of the most prestigious universities, conferences, and theatres around the world, they reflect on the author’s more than thirty-year career as a producer, director and educator. The essays provide a unique and personal look into multiple aspects of Shakespeare’s world—and ours.


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Chapter 10. Optional Authenticity and Shakespeare’s Globe (2002–2009)


· 10 · OPTIONAL AUTHENTICITY AND SHAKESPEARE’S GLOBE (2002–2009) (Originally delivered as part of the promotional tour for my first book, Instant Shakespeare, in 2002. I gave this talk frequently when asked to speak about my own journey with Shakespeare and my involvement with the rebuilding of the Shakespeare Globe theatre in London) It may seem strange, coming from the author of a Shakespeare book, to confess that I put off directing my first Shakespeare play for as long as I did, but read- ing Shakespeare had always put me to sleep. In college, I flunked Shakespeare and have the transcripts to prove it. I avoided Shakespeare in graduate school, where I was only interested in the modern theatre and in making films. In the summer of 1975, after leaving the American Film Institute, I had written a silent film adaptation of Samuel Beckett’s early short story, First Love. Stage director Alan Schneider, Beckett’s great interpreter in the theatre (for whom I had worked as an assistant one season), and his publisher Barney Rosset at Grove Press sent the script to Paris for Beckett’s approval. My girlfriend at the time was in Paris working on her doctorate in art history, so I went to France to spend some time with her and wait for Beckett, who finally sent the following telegram, “Did not write First Love as film. Do not wish to see First Love as film. Love, Sam.” (For a synopsis of First Love see: walsh.phtml.) So much for...

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