Shakespeare and the Queen’s Men

Shakespeare and Queen's Men ImageI went to the first Hamilton performance of the Shakespeare and the Queen’s Men project. SQM is a SSHRC funded Research/Creation project that is reconstructing how plays would have been put on in the late 16th century during Shakespeare’s apprenticeship. I will be involved in the internet research site where we hope to put up streaming video footage from the project that documents the reconstruction research. The play I saw, King Leir, directed by Peter Cockett, was terrific. The procession of dignitaries included McMaster’s president and AVP (Academic) Fred Hall. They sat at the back of the stage where us less important types could see if they fell asleep during the performance. King Leir repeatedly addressed them when talking about the evils of flattery (the main theme of this version.)

A review in the National Post discusses the Toronto performance of the King Leir which I saw.

A more stimulating sidelight on Shakespeare in general and King Lear in particular can be had from Shakespeare and the Queen’s Men, a joint theatrical-academic project on view at the Glen Morris Theatre, on the University of Toronto campus, and subsequently beyond. The Queen’s Men were an Elizabethan theatre company who flourished briefly in the 1580s, in London and on tour, before disappearing from the record in mysterious, and conceivably sinister, circumstances. This was just before Shakespeare began his career, and the present enterprise is staging and discussing three plays that definitely or conceivably influenced him.