This year was the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth, and it is incredible that his plays have lasted the test of time and are still celebrated to this day. The RSC, better known as the Royal Shakespeare Company, works to stage Shakespeare’s (and his contemporaries’ and modern day) work in order to make it an event; to make it as exciting as it can be. They’re based out of Stratford-upon-Avon, although they also perform in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and London, and they also tour around the globe.
The most talked about productions currently being performed by the RSC are undoubtedly Love’s Labour’s Lost and Love’s Labour’s Won (better known as Much Ado about Nothing). Both plays have been set around the First World War in order to commemorate its centenary, and it is amazing how well Shakespeare’s text fits this time period. Love’s Labours Lost is set in the summer of 1914, just before the war breaks out, and Love’s Labour’s Won takes place in 1918, after the war ends and the men return from battle. Dominic Cavendish, of The Telegraph, gives both plays rave reviews: ‘This is the most blissfully entertaining and emotionally involving RSC offering I’ve seen in ages. [...] Everything is in clear focus and the ensemble appears galvanised by the work-load, creating a rare sense of mutually reinforcing richness across the performances.’
Not only is the acting superb, but one of the most impressive things about the RSC is their costume department. Not only are there 28 people employed in order to make the costumes for any given production, but they even make their own armour and have their own dye department. Because of this, each production is not only performed well, but is visually stunning. Both Love’s Labour’s Lost and Love’s Labour’s Won are no exceptions: even if the actors were mute, the plays would still be enjoyable because the RSC’s costume department is so talented.
Both plays will be shown at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford through March 2015.
As Christmas will be here sooner than we think (American Thanksgiving is this Thursday!), the RSC will begin to show their Christmas production in a few days, on 29th November. Once again taking into account the centennial anniversary of the First World War, the RSC has decided to put on The Christmas Truce, which takes place on Christmas Eve 1914. Men of the Warwickshire Regiment shelter in their trenches, and all of a sudden, cutting through the silence of no man’s land, comes the sound of the German soldiers on the other side of the battlefield singing Christmas carols.
Somehow, these German soldiers are singing the same songs that the British soldiers’ families would have been singing, and for a night and a day, these two opposing forces come together to celebrate this winter holiday. On Christmas day, they even play a rousing game of football!
No, this play is not written by Shakespeare, but the RSC’s repertoire goes beyond this beloved playwright and introduces audiences to other impressive plays that deserve to be shared.
Believe it or not, The Christmas Truce was inspired by a true story, and the play will be shown until the end of January at the Stratford Royal Shakespeare Theatre.
If you’d like to check out our 2015 RSC Art Calendar, click here! We also have The Illustrated Book of Shakespeare’s Verse, and The Complete Works of Shakespeare, which would be perfect for Christmas gifts!
- To read all of Dominic Cavendish’s review, click here.
- To see the RSC’s website, click here.
- To read more about the history behind The Christmas Truce, click here.
This post was written by intern Taylor Steinberg.