“I talk of dreams”

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I spent last week working with a lovely group of College students from Ivrea, Italy.  While all visiting groups from overseas tend to be excited by the prospect of a week working with Shakespeare’s plays right next to his birthplace in Stratford, this group was particularly energized because the trip had come to represent so much for them.  Last year, at about this time, the group was due to fly to England to spend a week with us on one of our residential courses.  However,   like many other people last April they found themselves unable to fly due to the chaos caused by the volcanic ash cloud that disrupted air travel across western and northern Europe.  The group had been scheduled to watch Rupert Goold’s production of ‘Romeo and Juliet’, but as in Shakespeare’s play “sour misfortune” prevented this happy outcome.

Saddened by circumstance, but inspired with imaginary puissance the group decided to stage their own play, recounting this sad tale back at home in Italy.  The course leader penned a new drama titled “Cancelled for Volcanic Eruption”. The story began with the students waiting to catch their flight, and as the wait became longer they began to drift off to sleep and started dreaming about the characters in ‘Romeo and Juliet’, at which point scenes from Shakespeare’s play were performed – “never was there a story of more woe”.

Happily, the group managed to journey through ash free skies last week to land in Stratford and see the one of the last performance of Rupert Goold’s production.  The students’ enthusiasm and thirst for Shakespeare was infectious – and it was fascinating to hear what they made of the production which they had been waiting for a year to see.  Before they left they kindly gave me a copy of the poster for their production, signed by the entire cast – for whom a trip to Stratford had been a dream come to true.

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Author:Nick Walton

Nick Walton is a Lecturer in Shakespeare Studies at The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.
  • http://sorebuttcheeks.blogspot.com/ steroids

    did they cook any Italian food for you to say thanks ?

  • http://www.buybacklinkservices.com Willieloiter

    This is good even when things get you down, sometimes when you get lemons make lemonade. :)

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for your message. I will be out of the office until 21st March. I will deal with all e-mail messages on my return. Nick Walton

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  • Patbarone

    Gabriel and myself are now working on a final brush up of the script. We have to start intensive rehearsing. Will send you a poster of our play, which is undoubtebly inspired by your last lecture where you showed us insightful ideas. We’ll keep you informed and wish you the best of Will’s birthdays. Pat & Lele (uptight about his thesis). Ciao.

  • Anonymous

    Lovely to hear from you Sylvia – look forward to catching up.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for your post Rich – and sorry for my delay in getting back to you. In response to your question -the students were particulalry interested in the way in which Rupert’s production married different performance styles. They were familiar with both Zeffirelli and Baz Luhrman’s film versions of the play, and noted the influence which they felt these two iconic movies had had upon the production. They felt the production offered the best of both worlds – delivering the beauty and sensitivity of Zeffirelli’s film – mixed with the muscle and drive of Luhrman’s story telling. The group was divided when it came to preferring one style over another. Many of the students had come to Stratford expecting a production more in-line with Zeffirelli’s film, so it took some time for some of them to warm to Rupert’s very modern staging of the play. One of the students spoke of getting ‘lost’ (in a poetic sense) in the production – they felt as though it was all a dream – and for a play which is so rich in dream imagery – this seemed a sensitive engagement with the show.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry for my delay in responding Gabriel – I have just had a week away from the office – and was delighted to return and see your two posts. I hope your thesis on ‘Shakespeare’s Universality’ is going well, and that you are enjoying rehearsals for ‘Hamlet’. That is a role that will stay with you forever. Enjoy your journey of discovery.

  • Anonymous

    Lovely to hear from you Patrizia. So glad that your students enjoyed their time in Stratford. Hope rehearsals for ‘Hamlet’ have got off to a good start. It would be lovely to include a blog about your production on these pages when it is up and going. Watch this space.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry for my delay in responding Gabriel – I have just had a week away from the office – and was delighted to return and see your two posts. I hope your thesis on ‘Shakespeare’s Universality’ is going well, and that you are enjoying rehearsals for ‘Hamlet’. That is a role that will stay with you forever. Enjoy your journey of discovery.

  • Patrizia

    Nick is formally invited as guest of Honor. Good Move Gabriel! Teather Giacosa is not Elizabethan, but has its 310 years of history, from Commedia dell’arte to Opera. Ivrea is so similar to Stratford.

  • Gabriel

    Shakespeare across the Universe. Ancient, but always current… Projected into the future.
    I thank my drama teacher, Patrizia Barone, for have transmitted to me his great and wonderful passion.
    Probably, I will play other roles in the coming years, but one thing is certain: I am sure that the words of Shakespeare will remain my blood forever. Nothing and no one, can remove them.

  • Gabriel

    Dear Nick, reading your words, as if you had been to the theater, that evening, to attend our play.
    A beatiful dream has reawaken in my mind. After an experience so intense, you realize that only some moments are worth living, everything else boring.
    Shakespeare is the One who made me rediscover the Theater… His words are transformed into wonderful shapes and feelings. In these years, I’ve played Lysander in “A Midsummer Night’s dream”, Romeo in “Romeo and Juliet” Now I can’t forget the greatest playwrighter of all time.
    We are now preparing “Hamlet”, and we would be honored to have you as a beatiful guest, directly from the lands of the bard of Avon.
    With love.
    Gabriel Allegro

  • Gabriel

    Dear Nick, reading your words, as if you had been to the theater, that evening, to attend our play.
    A beatiful dream has reawaken in my mind. After an experience so intense, you realize that only some moments are worth living, everything else boring.
    Shakespeare is the One who made me rediscover the Theater… His words are transformed into wonderful shapes and feelings. In these years, I’ve played Lysander in “A Midsummer Night’s dream”, Romeo in “Romeo and Juliet” Now I can’t forget the greatest playwrighter of all time.
    We are now preparing “Hamlet”, and we would be honored to have you as a beatiful guest, directly from the lands of the bard of Avon.
    With love.
    Gabriel Allegro

  • patrizia

    one of my students is presenting a wonderful thesis on Shakespeare’s Universality. Gabriele Allegro, that’s his name has Shakespeare into his DNA. Very insightful work, unique in exploring the textures of Shakespearean characters projected as far as the 21st century.He’ll join this blog soon.Patrizia

  • Patrizia

    Nick. It was a dream. My students actually love quoting Shakespeare. One of them (Romeo) quoted Shakespeare on his application for College Admission. It’s really cool, especially around a small town by the Alps upon the river Dora. Patrizia.

  • Anonymous

    As a teacher I know there are many pathways to learning; sometimes it is a circuitous route, but when it is mixed with actual experience, the way it happened to these college students, the learning is embedded in a way that cannot be duplicated. I imagine their opinions WERE “fascinating. Perhaps you could share some with us here? Shakespeare finds his way into every nuance of our lives and is always applicable – these students have certainly helped bring Shakespeare into the 21st century.

  • Sylvia Morris

    This must have been a lovely experience Nick, always good to be reminded how special a visit to Stratford can be!

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