East Twickenham resident, Gerald Baker, has earned double plaudits lately for his work on Shakespeare's plays.

First, he has contributed new evidence about a lost Shakespeare play, History of Cardenio, that Professor Gary Taylor of Florida State University has been attempting to reconstruct. The play is based on the story of Don Quixote and Shakespeare wrote it near the end of his career. Two years ago, Gerald, who is the immediate past chairman of local amateur theatre group the Richmond Shakespeare Society, went to a rehearsed reading of the script which Prof Taylor had put together. He wrote to the Professor with his comments and they have been working together ever since. Now Gerald has contributed chapters of new evidence to Prof Taylor's recent book on the subject, 'The Creation and Re-creation of Cardenio', described in one review as a 'game-changer in Shakespeare studies'.

But Gerald's interest in Shakespeare is not purely academic. He is also a hands-on director and has just won the artsRichmond 'Cygnet Award' for his women-only production of Henry V for the Q2 Players, an amateur group in Kew. The citation explains that this was 'a highly innovative adaptation ... The acting space was small, all seven cast members were women, their costumes were identical, thre was no set. This pared down treatment produced a new way of looking at this epic play that was more intimate, very human and often humorous...'

And all this new thinking about Shakespeare is happening right here in East Twick!

If this has whetted your apetite, check out the Richmond Shakespeare Society's website - they don't just do Shakespeare but as it happens their next production is Julius Caesar - and the Q2 Players' website - whose next production is a comedy, Inspector Drake and the Perfekt Crime.

And finally, here is Gerald doing what you expect scholars to do: reading a scholarly work!



07 October 2013