LONDON CELEBRATES WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
About 400 years ago William Shakespeare died, the most important dramatist of all times. Just in time for the anniversary of his death, I followed in the footsteps of the master for Arte Metropolis in the British capital and met some Londoners for whom even today everything revolves around the great poet from Stratford upon Avon.
All London reads Shakespeare. Photo: Ingo Brunner / Kobalt
For example, the poet and Shakespeare expert Niall McDevitt, who, together with the award-winning choreographer James Cousins, took me to Blackfriars, the area where Shakespeare lived and wrote many of his works. McDevitt describes himself as a bar-dolator, a Shakespeare admirer, and is also sure about the conspiracy theories around Shakespeare: the genius wrote all his works himself.
In the footsteps of William Shakespeare. Photo: Ingo Brunner / Cobalt
BOX IN A SUITCASE ON SHAKESPEARE’S TRACKS
Jenny Tiramani, on the other hand, Britain’s most famous costume designer and expert on the Elizabethan Age, doesn’t want to know for sure; she loves the mystery surrounding the poet’s identity. Instead of indulging in wild speculation, Jenny has taken me to the costume workshop of Sands Films, an almost magical place where the costumes for great Shakespeare adaptations such as Roland Emmerich’s “Anonymus” or “Romeo and Juliet” were created.
I also visited Shakespeare’s Globe with Jenny, because nowhere in London you can get as close to Shakespeare as in the historic theatre setting where he showed most of his plays. Although the building burned to the ground centuries ago, Jenny, who worked here as a costume director for ten years, is still very inspired by the detailed reconstruction of the theatre. And if you walk down to the banks of the Thames directly in front of the Globe, you may, with a bit of luck, the British lady is sure, even find fragments from Shakespeare’s time.
Shakespeare fan in London. Photo: Ingo Brunner
SHAKESPEARE IN THE 21ST CENTURY
Even in London’s contemporary cultural scene, Shakespeare’s presence today is greater than one might think – although sometimes only visible at second glance. The award-winning choreographer James Cousins, who translates “As you like it” into dance, catapults the master into the 21st century just as successfully as his colleague Ryan McBryde. While Cousins reduces the poet’s comedy to its movements, the director, who some time ago with his “Hamlet! musical, is currently staging Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream” in Camden Town as a glittering Studio 54 version in the disco.
James Cousins translates Shakespeare into modern dance. Photo: Ingo Brunner /cobalt
There was little time for Box in a suitcase during the journey. But now the whole metropolis report “Shakespeare’s London” is online at Arte Metropolis.
PS: You can view my Cityreport London here with the password Bottegaberlin.