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Chronicles & Tales
Ellis J. Wells





Interviews - Prof. Ladan Niayesh - Part II

Prof. Ladan Niayesh
Literary Advisor

Focusing specifically on the play "Timon of Athens"; let's settle the debate once and for all: is it a tragedy or a problem play?

The answer to your question depends on your definition of “tragedy”. In the first Folio of 1623 (that is the first edition of Shakespeare’s complete works), "Timon of Athens" is grouped with the tragedies. The other two categories in the volume are comedies and histories, and obviously Timon could not belong to either of those other options. It is a tragedy insofar as its action is based on human suffering and a catharsis (purging of emotions), with the fate of the central figure inspiring pity and fear (the two expected Aristotelian tragic emotions) in the audience. But the action fails to fully qualify as a standard tragic action in five stages neatly following the rise and fall of a hero, complete with a final catastrophe involving an onstage death in the early modern English tradition. Here, the hero’s fall occurs much earlier than at the end, and he dies offstage, in a kind of ellipsis. The defiant, fighting dimension of heroism, meanwhile, is transferred to another character, Alcibiades, who embodies the nemesis of Athens here and who closes the play in Timon’s absence, making the denouement problematic. So all in all, we have a play and its eponymous character resisting and rejecting tragic heroism and a proper denouement, making this a problem play, or a ‘problem tragedy’ if you prefer.

It is now established that Shakespeare collaborated with Thomas Middleton to write "Timon of Athens"; how does this play differ from Shakespeare's solo body of work either in structure, tone, lyrical pace, etc.

Read more: Interviews - Prof. Ladan Niayesh - Part II

Interviews - Jack Westgate

Jack Westgate
Role: Soldier I

What Shakespeare role which you haven't played would you love to do?

Hamlet! I feel like any opportunity to play Hamlet would be any blessing for any actor although I think I am still a little too young to play 'the Dane.' it’s also pretty good to see on the CV that you have played Hamlet. I think I would bring a bit of a playfulness and angst.

Did you have any experience with "Timon of Athens - Misanthropos" before this project? - Seeing it on stage, being in it before, reading it at university, etc.?

Read more: Interviews - Jack Westgate

Interviews - Bruce Kitchener

Bruce Kitchener
Role: Lucius

You're incredibly prolific in your Shakespeare work on stage (both comedy and tragedy), what gets you excited about acting Shakespeare on film?

In some ways the stage seems ill equipped to deal with many of the themes in Shakespeare's plays. Epic battles are followed by intimate encounters and large-scale ensemble scenes. Film offers a broader canvas and more complex palette.

What do you take away from the story of “Timon of Athens” - Misanthropos?

Read more: Interviews - Bruce Kitchener

Interviews - Saul Marron

Saul Marron
Role: Hortensius

What Shakespeare role, which you haven't played, would you love to do?

Iago from "Othello" has always been my dream role. I love getting to play villains and in this case he is such a clever man who gets what he wants by simply whispering in someone's ear and stepping back to watch the chaos unfold. Evil but subtle with it.

Now you're a main player in the West End smash hit "Sh*tfaced Shakespeare". Would you love to do a drunken version of Timon of Athens?

Read more: Interviews - Saul Marron