Monday, April 29, 2013


Read Not Dead at Inner Temple

"Gorboduc, king of Britain, divided his Realm in his lifetime to his Sons, Ferrex and Porrex. The Sons fell to division and dissention. The younger killed the elder. The Mother that more dearly loved the elder, for revenge killed the younger. The people moved with the Cruelty of the fact, rose in Rebellion and slew both father and mother. The Nobility assembled and most terribly destroyed the Rebels. And afterwards for want of Issue of the Prince whereby the Succession of the Crown became uncertain. They fell to Civil war in which both they and many of their Issues were slain, and the Land for a long time almost desolate and miserably wasted."

A unique event.
Norton and Sackville, both members Inner Temple, wrote their play for law students to perform, in their Great Hall, at Christmas 1561, in the presence of the Virgin Queen.
It was the first play in blank verse; it predates Shakespeare and his famous Globe.
Now, when almost nothing remains of London's playhouses, and the Inner Temple Hall, and its Victorian successor, are no more, the lawyers of today have revived the play, under the direction of Oliver Senton [Shakespeare's Globe].
The play itself is wordy, with most of the violent conflict safely offstage. Not unlike the courtroom rhetoric for which it was perhaps considered a ludic apprenticeship. The spirit of misrule which probably enlivened the original was best captured in the dumbshows, with actors and musicians, sometimes masked, charging around, snapping twigs and illustrating the action.
Some excellent performances, though, from Rebecca Todd, on loan from the Globe, as Philander, Nigel Pascoe, QC and playwright, as old Gorboduc, Iain Christie, barrister and professional actor, as Eubulus and Chorus, and Luka Krsljanin, Cambridge actor, as the younger son, Porrex.

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