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SHAKESPEARE'S SLAVE NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW
Opening Night: May 29, 2011
Did He Like It?*
What if William Shakespeare had never written Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, King Lear and all his other later masterpieces? In 1596 Shakespeare had a creative crisis. Broke and bedeviled by self-doubt, he was unable to write the "Henry IV" play commissioned by the Lord Chamberlain. The question of whether "to be or not to be" hung by a thread - until Shakespeare met one of London's first African slaves - who changed his life.
A Love-Struck Romeo Finds Inspiration at Last
*By CATHERINE RAMPELL
Published: June 1, 2011
"Unlike its writer’s-blocked hero “Shakespeare’s Slave” suffers from a few too many ideas. The play, presented in repertory with an adaptation of “Henry IV, Parts I and 2” at the Harold Clurman Theater, is about a fictional romance between William Shakespeare and an African slave. Unfortunately it tries to cram in just about every literary theme imaginable: racism, sexism, grief, greed, revenge, ambition, infidelity, pearl-clutching hypocrisy. It also grafts the origins of several of Shakespeare’s masterworks — including “Hamlet,” “Othello,” the Henry IV plays and the “Dark Lady” sonnets — onto an already overloaded plot."
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