I know the old boy invented dozens of 'murderers' to fill his stories but I wonder if he ever realised how many artistic 'murderers' would arise over the ages intent on 'killing' his plays? According to Quentin Letts in The Mail, the latest recruit to 'wield the dagger' is the director of a production of "Measure for Measure" at the Donmar Warehouse in London, a lady - why am I not surprised? - called Josie Rourke, and no, me neither!
She had the …….. (I leave you to fill in the blank) idea of trimming the text down so that the entire play in traditional costume could be completed in 90 minutes. After the interval, apparently, they ran the whole thing again but this time in modern dress and with most of the roles reversed sexually. Thus, the innocent novice nun is played by a man as a recovering drug addict and the arch-villain, a high-powered lawyer, is played by the lady who was previously the young nun! Yeeeeees, quite!
Well, so far, so daft and, of course, utterly pointless. However, there is a point to be made that perhaps some 'real life' lawyers should be involved given that the poster on the Donmar Warehouse site advertises "Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare" not 'Measure for Measure by Ms. Josie Rourke'. Were I daft enough to book a ticket for what is one of my favourite Shakespeare plays and discovered too late that the whole thing is a pathetic joke, I would not be amused! I should add that in my (relative!) youth I once directed this play and for reasons I cannot explain or justify I set it in modern dress. BIG MISTAKE! Mea culpa and all that sort of thing.