Brechtian vestiges and Shakespeare-plus-relevance
The RSC’s Coriolanus 1972–73
in Coriolanus
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The Royal Shakespeare Company's (RSC) Coriolanus reveals even more about the company's institutional identity in the early 1970s than Gordon Jones's The Plebeians Rehearse the Uprising does. Coriolanus played its part in the exploration by combining spectacle with reverence for a view of William Shakespeare's intentions. The 1972 Coriolanus, and its 1973 transfer to London's Aldwych Theatre, represent a culmination of the forces that shaped Brechtian Coriolanus-related productions in England between 1965 and 1971. The implicit rejection of Brechtian politics that Nicol Williamson's performance represents is, arguably, simply the logical conclusion of the trajectory of Bertolt Brecht-influenced Coriolanus productions on the British stage. The compromises that characterized Britain's social democracy were also fundamental to the existence of subsidized arts organizations like the RSC, and the RSC chose to avoid any strident political stand.


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