Mark Rylance, artistic director of Shakespeare's Globe, launches his 2002 season, which the theatre's publicity refers to as a Season of Cupid and Psyche, on May 11 with a performance of Twelfth Night.
In the Globe's own words: "The overwhelming, transforming, often chaotic force of love is perhaps the most resonant theme of the 2002 season. Between the two pillars of Shakespeare's wintry comedy Twelfth Night and A Midsummer Night's Dream, we premiere a modern comedy — The Golden Ass — by Peter Oswald.
In Twelfth Night we explore the original playing practices of Shakespeare's period: clothing and music, all created from research into the period of the first recorded performance 400 years ago. The Dream will not be bound by an exploration of the original period, though Mike Alfreds' simple spontaneous style of play will be as true to the original Globe as his production of Cymbeline in 2001.
At the heart of Shakespeare's comedies is Plato's idea that Divine Love could be felt through the love of one's companion soul, Psyche. All forms of desire, earthly and divine, give Shakespeare the matter of his comedies, and an obvious source for the Dream was the earthy Latin novel The Golden Ass, in which a young man discovers his true nature by being transformed into an ass." Shakespeare's Globe has proved to be not just a major tourist attraction, with its re-creation of the original stage setting for many of William Shakespeare's plays, but a respected venue for interesting new productions of theatrical classics.
The annual season runs from May to September, supposedly to take advantage of the English summer — or at least the relatively long days during these months. Unfortunately, the English summer is so unreliable, not to mention miserable — not for nothing did Shakespeare set his steamier plays of passion and adventure, like Romeo and Juliet and Othello, and indeed A Midsummer Night's Dream and Twelfth Night — in sunnier, foreign climes.
Still, this is Golden Jubilee Year, and as royalty tend to get good weather for their public events (in Victoria's day they called it "Queen's weather"), the Globe's audiences may get to see Shakespeare by sunshine.