ARCHIVED REVIEW: SEPTEMBER 2004
MO(O)RE MAGIC …
Staged in September 2004 @ Black Box, STU, Fredericton, NB
by Robert Moore
Notable Acts (w/Nasty Shadows)
It’s been a long time since I’ve watched the good old Top Poet, Wm. Shaksper, get tripped up at the heels, held upside down and slapped awake. Perhaps as long ago as seeing one of those Charles Marowitz travesties from the eighties — say, his upending of The Taming of the Shrew — or Tom Stoppard at his scandalous best, as in Dogg’s Hamlet, Cahoot’s Macbeth.
But Robert Moore‘s Rougher Magic does a pretty fair job of reminding us that just because it’s Shakespeare, it’s not necessarily in tune with all our most deeply cherished modern values. As Adam Gopnik pointed out a few weeks ago in the New Yorker, there really is no way short of text tampering to make The Taming of the Shrew into a feminist play, or The Merchant of Venice into a pro-Semitic one. Shakespeare was, after all, an Elizabethan. And, as Moore makes clear, no matter how hard you shake The Tempest, without some fundamental change it’s never going to be the sort of thing a member of an uprooted, displaced indigenous people is going to be comfortable with.
At the end of a couple of hours’ worth of startling, athletic, imaginative and colorful messing about with Shakespeare’s last play (as well as a fair number of other plays …