Richard Wilson on Cardenio at the RSS

The History of Cardenio

Richmond Shakespeare Society at the Mary Wallace Theatre, March 18 2017

Shakespeare and Cervantes both died on April 23 1616, and Borges was not the only other writer to fantasize that the dramatist and novelist were one and the same person… So, the scholar Gary Taylor has had the madcap conceit of reuniting the surviving bits of Shakespeare’s lost play Cardenio with Cervantes’s tale of Don Quixote, from which its plot is lifted. Putting the demented Knight of the Doleful Countenance into the play, as an academic driven bonkers by his theories, makes complete sense of its love-mad hero, and highlights the similarities with the stories of Falstaff, Hotspur, Hamlet and King Lear. In the manic new production by the Richmond Shakespeare Society, directed by Gerald Baker, this beguiling flight of fancy becomes a truly Quixotic extravaganza, where the performers are themselves so touched by their lunatic adventures that Cardenio can be indulged in his frenzy, the Don can be forgiven his delusion, and even Taylor’s scholarly hallucination can be humoured.

Richard Wilson
Sir Peter Hall Professor of Shakespeare Studies
Kingston University

Gerald Baker and Gary Taylor

Gerald Baker and Gary Taylor at the Mary Wallace Theatre. Taken by Richard Wilson at the opening night of The History of Cardenio, a Richmond Shakespeare Society production of Gary Taylor’s reconstruction of the 1612 play by Shakespeare and Fletcher directed by Gerald Baker.

Gerald Baker and the Bard

Gerald Baker pensively looking at the Bard.

The play is on until March 25. For booking see here. See also the KiSS excursion to the play on March 23.



About kingstonshakespeareseminar

Kingston Shakespeare is the home of KiSS, and its offshoot KiSSiT. Both explore the world by thinking through Shakespeare.
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One Response to Richard Wilson on Cardenio at the RSS

  1. Pingback: KiSS Cardenio Excursion, March 23 | Kingston Shakespeare Seminar

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