Coriolanus

Author: Robert Ormsby

Coriolanus resonated for a Jacobean London audience through performance, assuming it actually was performed in the early seventeenth century. This book focuses on the postwar-productions of the Shakespeare's play. It deals with the Laurence Olivier's 1959 version at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, the reconfiguration of Bertolt Brecht in the 1960s and early 1970s, and the Royal Shakespeare Company's staging of the play in 1972. Alan Howard won the 1978 London Theatre critics award for Best Actor, starred in successful Coriolanus remounts at Nottingham and London in 1978. The 1984-85 National Theatre's Coriolanus reveals the Shakespeare-plus-relevance ideology under strain from the factious political climate, and Peter Hall's outburst in 1985 was the result of years of stagnant arts funding from Margaret Thatcher's government. The book discusses goulash communism that characterized the mid-1980s Hungary and the staging of Coriolanus in Budapest by Gabor Szekely, and the 1988 theatrically radical presentation at the New York Shakespeare Festival. Coriolan embodies the competing influences that help define Robert Lepage's Shakespeare production, which overlapped the highly charged political events in Canada when Quebec voters turned down a proposal to negotiate sovereignty from the country. The new Globe theatre's Coriolanus in May 2006 was the inaugural production under the theatre's new artistic director, Dominic Dromgoole. This Coriolanus appeared to be designed to fulfil a set of expectations related to a certain image of Globe performance. Ralph Fiennes's film in 2011-12 made Coriolanus a failed action hero in denying him unambiguously heroic status.

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