There was a packed house in the Watergate Theatre on Friday afternoon to see one of Ireland’s foremost experts on Shakespeare, Fintan O’Toole give a talk about the Bard's work in the context of the violent political climate he lived in.
According to O’Toole, it was also a sneaky opportunity for him to share the stage with one of his favourite actresses (and one of Ireland’s best) Derbhle Crotty. He mentioned how he had originally suggested that the Arts Festival gets ‘someone like Derbhle Crotty’ for the event. Well, who better than Derbhle Crotty?
O’Toole spoke about the shadowy details of Christopher Marlowe’s murder in 1593 and how that informed the subsequent work of Shakespeare. O’Toole spoke particularly in the context of As You Like It, describing a lot of Shakespeare’s text as ‘dark stuff in a seemingly very light play.’ He mentioned allusions to Marlowe’s death, the police state and torture imagery within this play, and indeed some of Shakespeare’s other works of the time. Throughout the hour long talk, Crotty read various passages from the play to illuminate O’Toole’s various points. She read brilliantly of course. What else would you expect? This illuminating and passionate talk ended with O’Toole and Crotty both reading a scene from King Lear together.
Doing a Shakespeare scene on stage with Derbhle Crotty? Fintan O’Toole certainly got what he wanted!