Theater: Robust Aroma of Tradition

Canada's Stratford company tours the U.S.

Few things divide directors from their audiences as abruptly as attempts to innovate the classics. Stage professionals often think about a text for decades, absorb observations from a dozen or more productions, and feel so weighty a burden of tradition that they see no value in reviving the play unless they can do something offbeat with it. Audiences, on the other hand, often find older texts hard to follow. They prefer a straight, uncomplicated rendering that delivers faithfully what the author intended. But it is often impossible to be sure what the author intended. In the case of William Shakespeare, the...

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