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Chronicles & Tales
Ellis J. Wells





Interviews - Rebecca Faeryn

Rebecca Faeryn
Role: Timandra

Hello Rebecca. Thank you so much for talking to us today. I'll kick off very simply, as this is a Shakespeare feature film, by asking what the best Shakespeare performance you've seen is?

I’ve seen a number of Shakespeare plays at the Globe, as I’ve lived in London nearly all my life. I think my favourite has to be "A Midsummer Nights’ Dream" performed by the RSC in 2012. It was also the first Shakespeare play I ever saw, when I was about 5 years old, when a group of actors performed it at my school. So it has a special place in my heart.

Did you have any experience with "Timon of Athens" before this project?

Read more: Interviews - Rebecca Faeryn

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 - Prof. Ladan Niayesh

Prof. Ladan Niayesh
Literary Advisor
PART I - ABOUT YOUR FIELD

My starting question is very simple: what was your first exposure to Shakespeare?

My first exposure was very classically Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet seen on TV as a child, in a poorly translated Persian (my native tongue). At that young age, I was obviously more interested in the ghost and misty battlements than anything else. But the first play I was able to read in full text for a school curriculum was – rather unusually for a school programme – Coriolanus. The guidance of a passionate instructor made me all at one go fall in love with Shakespeare and want to become a teacher myself. I am much beholden to the gentleman for both reasons, and one of the highlights of my career many years later was to have his son among my students at university for a course on Shakespeare!

As a distinguished scholar of Shakespeare, can you talk us through your educational journey with Shakespeare?

Read more: Interviews - Prof. Ladan Niayesh

Production Status: Filming / COVID-19 Update

Production Status: Filming

Postponed due to COVID-19 crisis - Last Update 25 / 01 / 2021

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues impacting the world and vaccine distributions remain nascent, we plan to resume filming late October 2021.

This decision is made with the safety of everyone as our foremost consideration.