When the Hogarth Shakespeare series was first announced, the idea of commissioning writers to ‘reimagine Shakespeare’s plays for the 21st century’ was met by some with mistrust. To those working in theatre, however, it didn’t feel like an affront: reimagining Shakespeare is what directors, designers and actors do each time they embark on a new production. So it’s both appropriate and rather thrilling that Margaret Atwood retells The Tempest from the perspective of a director with big ideas about Shakespeare’s tricksy late romance.
Felix Phillips is the maestro of the Makeshiweg Theatre Festival, a hoary radical who likes to startle his audiences, even if they sometimes complain:
The almost-naked, freely bleeding Lavinia in Titus was too upsettingly graphic, they’d whined; though, as Felix had pointed out, more than justified by the