Coriolanus: William Shakespeare

Coriolanus: Donmar Warehouse

★★★★

(Donmar Warehouse, 2013, directed by Josie Rourke)

During the Donmar Warehouse’s run of Coriolanus, tickets were so scarce that people camped outside in sleeping bags in the hope of getting a day ticket for the show. Interviewing the director Josie Rourke, just before a live broadcast of the play, Emma Freud asked what could account for this surge of popular interest. Somewhat disingenuously, Rourke enthused about the modern parallels to be found in this story. It’s a tale about the power of public opinion, in which a great soldier is brought down by his failure to transition to the hand-pressing, baby-kissing world of popular politics. She suggested that the play spoke to modern sensibilities. It’s about an era of austerity, about class divisions between the people and those who rule them, and about the fact that the people notionally have a voice but realistically don’t feel they have any power to change their government.

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