Review: Shakespeare's baddies convene in 'All the Devils Are Here'
The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Sunday, July 21, 2024

Review: Shakespeare's baddies convene in 'All the Devils Are Here'
Patrick Page in “All the Devils are Here.” Page writes and stars in a meditation on the Bard’s villains, moving swiftly through a catalog of characters as if he were a chameleon. Shakespeare Theater Company via The New York Times.

by Maya Phillips

NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- Prospero steps out onto the stage, a sturdy white staff and book in hand. He kneels, opens the book and strikes the stage three times. As the last heavy thud echoes throughout the empty theater, the lights dim to an icy, concentrated glow. This is the magician, and this is his art.

But it isn’t actually Shakespeare’s vengeful sorcerer we’re seeing; this is Patrick Page, and when he opens his mouth, it’s not Prospero but Lady Macbeth who speaks, in a jagged whisper. It’s a summoning: “Come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts.”

It’s enough to make you shiver, and fitting for a play called “All the Devils Are Here: How Shakespeare Invented the Villain,” an enchanting one-man show full of Shakespeare’s vilest, silliest and most misunderstood characters: the baddies. Produced by Shakespeare Theater Company at Sidney Harman Hall in Washington, and directed by Alan Paul, “All the Devils Are Here” is a chronological catalog of Shakespeare’s villains — including the lady with stains on her hands that no amount of Purell can get out, and the cuckolding, crown-stealing sibling. Page, who also wrote the script (and is lately known for his performance as another grand villain, Hades, in the musical “Hadestown”), begins with some general context, bringing us back in time to the flimsy villains that showed up in 16th-century morality plays and how a young Shakespeare, influenced by such shows and those of his contemporary Christopher Marlowe, first broached the role of the villain in his early works.

In the roughly 80-minute production, Page peppers in tidbits about his personal relationship to the texts, like how he remained haunted by “Macbeth” even when he stepped off the stage, along with a few nods to Shakespeare in pop culture — like the imprint of “Hamlet” in “The Lion King” and the echoes of “Richard III” and “Macbeth” in “House of Cards.” Addressing some of the nuances behind the characterizations of these rapscallions and miscreants, Page asks worthwhile questions: Is Iago a sociopath? Does Shylock reflect Shakespeare’s early prejudices, and does Othello later subvert them? Is the jolly old rascal Falstaff not just a fool, but another villain to contend with?

The production reminded me of another I’d enjoyed recently: the Irish Repertory Theater’s “On Beckett/In Screen,” written by and starring Bill Irwin (and available to stream this month as part of the theater’s Home Winter Festival). Both work in a form that speaks to the audience as not just vessels of the actor’s performance, but also as fellow scholars examining the text with him. I’m a student at heart, one of literature especially, so I count any piece that melds the virtuosity of stage performance with the intellectual rigor of a classroom, minus any didacticism, as a precious night of theater.

And yet for Shakespeare stans like myself, the contextual analysis is a touch light, no more than the connective thread between villains. But when we do arrive at those villains — alas! — Page, with his bottomless bass (soon to be set to audio in a Shakespeare@Home production of “Julius Caesar”), seems possessed by such a mastery of his craft, moving teary-eyed through the pain of Shylock and the comic pomposity of Malvolio with such swiftness that it’s like watching a chameleon change hues before your eyes: stupefying, effortless.

Does Page have the Weird Sisters casting spells by his side? I don’t think so, but just as well, he has Elizabeth A. Coco’s revelatory lighting, heralding and punctuating his tonal and oratorical shifts. Then there’s Gordon Nimmo-Smith’s exacting sound design, to create an air of mischief and terror, or usher in a scene in a verdant garden or rowdy pub.

But it’s Page — looking exceptionally svelte in an all-black ensemble, standing or sitting at a lonely desk and chair onstage while the cameras follow him with a pristine eye and perfect attention — who is the devil, the mage, the usurper.

In the final scene, he arrives at Prospero, who ends “The Tempest” rehabilitated and delivers one last monologue to the audience — here, the camera moves to show Page facing the empty theater — denouncing his magical games and bidding us farewell. Page does the same, snaps the staff in half and closes his book onstage.

But has the spell really ended, just like that? Hours later, I’m still utterly beguiled.

"All the Devils Are Here: How Shakespeare Invented the Villain"

Through July 28;

© 2021 The New York Times Company

Today's News

February 12, 2021

MFA, St. Petersburg exhibition focuses on Greek art created during the Geometric period

Jazz legend and fusion pioneer Chick Corea dies of cancer

Christie's to offer rare illuminated manuscripts from the Collection of Elaine and Alexandre P. Rosenberg

Shelburne Museum acquires John Singleton Copley portrait of Mrs. John Scollay

George and Martha Washington's hair among Presidential memorabilia up for auction

Exhibition presents some forty essential works by Mark Tobey

The Met announces Alex Da Corte as artist for 2021 Roof Garden Commission

Britain's brass bands fear being blown away by virus curbs

Frederick Douglass ALS leads Fine Books & Autographs at Swann

Forgotten at home, Italian comic strip enjoys cult status in ex-Yugoslavia

Berlin film festival to spotlight pandemic-era movies

Coin collection of the late Richard Plant is 100% sold at Dix Noonan Webb

Leslie Robertson, who engineered the World Trade Center, dies at 92

James Gunn, prizewinning science fiction author, dies at 97

National Book Foundation names new leader

Review: Shakespeare's baddies convene in 'All the Devils Are Here'

In Spain, virtuoso violinist pays tribute to war-torn Lebanon childhood

World War II Citroen truck for sale with H&H Classics

John Murphy named Director of Development and Donor Relations at MWPAI

New Orleans Museum of Art announces major fund and pledged endowment from Del and Ginger Hall

Timken Museum of Art names Kathleen Lundgren and Alexandra Davis Perez to its Board of Directors

George H.W. Bush Letter to Mikhail Gorbachev to be auctioned

Toledo Museum of Art promotes two to senior management roles

A vision of Asian American cinema that questions the very premise

A High Quality Website Shows You Care About your Company and its Customers

OtelMs Company │ Provide Best Hotel management Software

Is sports betting down to luck or is it really an art of skill?

Longest Running Hindi TV Daily Soaps

The Japan Culture & Arts Profitability Enhancement Project brings to you Video on Demand Adventures!

Follow these effective and simple tips to secure good grades in your Law college degree.

Guide to Travel With Younger Children - Why It's Important

How to Promote Art via Video on Facebook

5 Tips That'll Take Your Drone Photography to New Heights

How to get a cell phone with bad credit and no deposit

Everything You Need to Know About Buying a Car in Florida

Eyeshadow Palettes to Rock Day or Night

Where to Search for Rental Cars

How do Hemp Cigarettes Help You Quit Smoking

The Best Studio City Rehab Facilities

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez
Writer: Ofelia Zurbia Betancourt

Truck Accident Attorneys
Accident Attorneys

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. Hommage
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site Parroquia Natividad del Señor
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful