Carole Bremson has miraculously condensed Shakespeare’s forest scenes, offering a pine-fresh perspective on transformation, displacement and temporary loss of inhibitions in nine plays and several sonnets. The inter-cutting, like grafting, functions as a fine critique, a hypertext of Shakespeare’s sylvan scenes. It’s a masterful shift in and out of character.
Bremson inserts sonnets into plays where Shakespeare fails to provide them. They’re so apposite you’d think them out-takes from the plays. More, Bremson offers a critique of acting history: she intercuts two diametrically opposed famous period actors – Sarah Siddons and Robert Coates. Thus Don Armado the amorous Spaniard from Love’s Labour’s Lost morphs into the latter actor, the inspirationally appalling Coates. At other times, it’s the lines themselves that jump cues. Costard hands out wrong sonnets (even Hamlet’s doggerel) spun brilliantly out of sanity. William the beaten shepherd in this adaptation finds new love after Touchstone grabs his girl - with her mother.
This is one of the most enduring textual and dramatic innovations of the
Shakespeare Olympiad – for professionals and amateurs.