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