Theater: Outpost of Habitual Culture

In a bucolic splendor of greenery, the Festival Theater of Stratford, Ont., salutes the eye like the panoplied summer court of a king. The king, of course, is Shakespeare, and the irony is that Stratford serves him rather ill in its current productions of Richard III and The Merry Wives of Windsor. One difficulty with cultural outposts of this sort is that audiences begin to equate their dutifulness with pleasure, and actors and directors tend to become bureaucratic keepers of tinier and tinier dramatic flames. That may be why the Stratford players perform...

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