It’s hard to be the Bard – but why?

Judging by the songs available on YouTube, the Broadway musical Something Rotten strikes an interesting balance between propagating familiar pop-cultural myths about the early modern period and unpicking some of those assumptions through playful anachronism. The opening number, for example, welcomes us to ‘the Renaissance/Where everything is new’: far from a transitional period still processing and remaking its … More It’s hard to be the Bard – but why?

Jonathan Strange and the Friends of English Verse Drama

This article was originally published by Blogging Shakespeare.  ‘This other magic, it will not do, sir.’ – Gilbert Norrell ‘But Shakespear’s Magick could not copy’d be, Within that Circle none durst walk but he.’ – John Dryden It’s entirely possible that my thesis is giving me tunnel vision, but the way characters discuss the ‘wild, cruel, … More Jonathan Strange and the Friends of English Verse Drama

Speaking the Speech

This article was originally published on Blogging Shakespeare. As Christopher Marlowe anachronistically says in Anonymous, six years after his historical death: ‘It’s difficult to write, isn’t it? After watching something like Hamlet. It eats at you – at your soul…’ And it’s especially difficult to write a verse play. I’m a PhD researcher at the Shakespeare … More Speaking the Speech

How to approach modern verse drama (and why almost no one does)

This article was originally written as a guest blog for A Younger Theatre. Setting yourself up as a verse dramatist in 2015 is a risky business. As dangerous, old-fashioned professions go, writing a play in iambic pentameter isn’t quite up there with chimney-sweeping. But since the hopefully-fragrant retirement of the last gong-farmers, who carried ‘night soil’ … More How to approach modern verse drama (and why almost no one does)