We are thrilled to let you know that of our Cleopatra production is being reviewed by Professor Marion Wynne-Davies (Surrey) in Shakespeare and in Theatre Notes, and by Dr Derek Dunne (Shakespeare’s Globe) in Cahiers Élisabéthains. Look out for upcoming issues of these journals! In the meantime, we wanted to share some of the wonderful comments we’ve received:
Dr Chris Laoutaris (Shakespeare Institute): This spirited and engaging production, put together by a super-talented cast and crew, and set to evocative lute music, wonderfully re-creates the ambiance of a Renaissance coterie play. Daniel’s Cleopatra is an important work to see performed, not least because it both influenced, and was in dialogue with, Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. The complexity and emotional intensity of Daniel’s Egyptian Queen, a demanding role which would have tested its original actress’ skills to the very limit, is a testament to the confidence vested in female performers during the early modern period. This runs counter to the often skewed interpretation of play-acting in Shakespeare’s England as a purely male domain, a view popularised by the fact that on the public stage female characters were played by boy actors. In reality women were potent presences in dramatic performances staged in Tudor and Jacobean great houses and court masques. English women also performed plays in convents on the continent. Probably the first revival of Daniel’s Cleopatra in over four centuries, this new and exciting production demonstrates, in vividly embodied form, that there was a space for the female actor in the English Renaissance.
Philip Bird (Shakespeare’s Globe): In 2013 I think you, Emma and the cast gave us a beautifully clear, uncluttered performance of a significant text.
Prof Peter Swaab (UCL): Many congratulations on putting on such an extraordinary event. I was fascinated to see the play and thought some of its virtues were closer to French classical drama than the Shakespearean line. The flashback stagings worked very well, and some of the choruses too. But there was much to enjoy and admire from start to finish. Altogether quite a day.
Lilla Grindlay (PhD student, UCL English): I wanted to say how hugely I enjoyed the performance of Daniel’s ‘Cleopatra’. For me, the success of the production really did hinge on Charlotte Gallagher’s performance. I thought she was mesmerising, and delivered the performance with such understanding and intelligence (a real credit, there, to a UCL education). It was so exciting to see Daniel’s words come to life like that. I am writing part of a chapter on Cary’s ‘Mariam’ so to see the performability of a closet drama for myself was so exciting. I am sure you have been inundated with congratulations, and just wanted to add mine. I felt like I was present at an extremely significant academic event.