|Troilus and Cressida|
|Written by Administrator|
|Friday, 22 April 2005 06:18|
Troilus and Cressida: Royal Shakespeare Company, August 1976. Director: John Barton; Designer: Chris Dyer; Photographer: Tom Holte. Courtesy AHDS.
STAGING TROILUS AND CRESSIDA
The revision of its 1609 quarto title page to deny any previous public performance suggests that this play from the start had an erratic production record (2.4.25). Its extremely negative view of the figures in Homer's Iliad presents a problem in eliciting audience sympathy and involvement. The celebrated Helen of Troy usually seems merely frivolous, the lover Troilus volatile, and his beloved Cressida fickle (2.4.27, 2.4.28), while Pandarus is cynically decadent. Among the Trojans Hector appears virtuous but fatally inconsistent. As for the Greeks, Ulysses seems most thoughtful and well-meaning, but ultimately ineffective. The skeptical anti-war tone made the play more acceptable in a century of two world wars, and the brutal and vicious behavior of Achilles confirms its anti-militarist attraction. These negative attributes encourage modern critics to be more favorable to the the play, but its popular reception remains guarded. Modern updating of the setting to the Crimean or later wars (6.2.29) often has an enlivening effect. HMR
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Troilus and Cressida at Talkin' Broadway.
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