The Bread and Roses is a very pleasant pub in a quiet side street just a few minutes’ walk from the tube station. The theatre is reached by a narrow carpeted staircase; this has such a homely feel to it that I felt I should be knocking before entering!
When we enter, Dori Engel on stage sat at a mirror as if preparing to go on stage. Dori is reading through papers, rehearsing his lines while music plays before throwing them to the floor and launching into his first speech.
Dori Engel is from Israel and speaks with a distinctive accent which seems very appropriate for a piece about outsiders, he does, however, speak very clearly and fluently. Soliloquies from many of Shakespeare’s plays are performed including some of my favourite speeches from Richard II, Richard III , The Tempest, and Macbeth but other less well-known parts are also included – for instance, the Duchess of Gloucester from Henry IV part 2 and a very topical speech by Sir Thomas More about immigration. Some parts are comic like the spurned Helena from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, others heart-wrenching like the deposed King Richard II and Shylock from The Merchant of Venice describing the prejudice he has endured. All the characters portrayed are outsiders in some way, some due to their own wickedness, namely Richard III and Macbeth – others due to other peoples actions like Prospero who is usurped and shipwrecked by his brother.
Finally, Shakespeare himself is examined as he was also seen as a bit of an outsider coming from Stratford-upon-Avon and not attending University. He was ridiculed by some of his contemporaries, Robert Greene a Cambridge Graduate called him an upstart crow. His contemporary and fellow playwright Ben Jonson said that he had “small Latin and less Greek”.
This was a very interesting and thought-provoking performance; it was good to hear such poignant speeches from some of Shakespeare’s rarely performed plays.
Review by Sally Knipe
Now I Am Alone – a portrait of Shakespeare’s outsiders. This is an original devised work based on Shakespeare, in a solo performance by the actor Dori Engel, directed by Nick Hutchison.
Shakespeare’s outsiders gather in one play. The exiled king, the fool, the refugee, the social outcast – they all have something to say about Shakespeare’s views of society and human nature. The show tells the story of these people and proffers up their unique viewpoint on life, through humour, irony and anguish.
Among the characters are the famous: Richard II and III, Macbeth, Jacques and Shylock, and the less known and performed: Timon of Athens, Launce, The Duchess of Gloucester, and a rarely performed speech from Sir Thomas More about immigration. The acclaimed director Nick Hutchison (UK) directs this original take on the Bard’s plays, performed by actor Dori Engel (Israel). The collaboration between the two artists led to a cross-cultural and fresh approach to the texts that will speak to so many people around the world.
Wed-Sat 5th-8th July at 7:30 PM
The Bread & Roses Theatre
68 Clapham Manor Street, Clapham SW4 6DZ, London