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[Perspectives] Time out of joint

The first Shakespeare production that I remember seeing in a theatre was decidedly non-traditional. It was the late 1980s, and Michael Bogdanov and Michael Pennington’s upstart English Shakespeare Company was touring the UK with its Wars of the Roses cycle. I was bewildered by a Henry V transposed to the Falklands War; but I must have found something in it, because I returned for a Richard III featuring the monarch as a Thatcherite CEO. The English Shakespeare Company burned briefly but brightly, and I have fond memories of it: Bogdanov and Pennington introduced me to the idea that Shakespeare’s plays were not pieces of mildly enjoyable heritage, but living, breathing, sometimes upsetting creatures.