Bond's take on Shakespeare
Shakespeare was a greedy, weak, devious individual who only thought of himself at the great expense of the rest of the community in Stratford-upon-Avon. Well that's the view Edward Bond took in his play Bingo: Scenes of Money and Death which opens at Chichester Festival Theatre tomorrow.
It portrays our greatest playwright in very poor light. Bond's story sees William Shakespeare fearful about the possibility of losing the land he has bought on the proceeds from his plays. The land is now Shakespeare's only source of income - he has lost his writing mojo. A big local landowner wants to drive Shakespeare's tenants off the land, thereby leaving the embittered Bard with diddly squat. What to do? Sell out to the developer or fight for his tenants?
Shakespeare now finds himself in the same situation as one of his most famous characters, King Lear. To add further ironic spice to the play the producers have cast Patrick Stewart, the great Shakespearian actor and spokesman for his work, as the miserly Shakespeare in this unflattering story of a selfish playwright at the end of his days.
And it's worth noting Edward Bond if you're not familiar with him or his work. He has a reputation. In this clip he says he is "basically a comic writer". That's not his reputation.