I proclaim that 2013 is my Year of Shakespeare. It has been the first year in which I ventured to London’s stunning Globe Theatre, and I have also now completed all of his plays – a major, if rather nerdy, achievement. The final plays of the great Bard’s which I had lined up to read in December were Timon of Athens and All’s Well That Ends Well.
Timon of Athens **
Timon of Athens was my penultimate play. The marvellous RSC introduction states that ‘with its paucity of female characters and absence of familial bonds, this will always remain one of Shakespeare’s least known, least loved and least performed plays’. You can see from my two star rating above that I agreed wholeheartedly with this. It is thought that Shakespeare wrote Timon of Athens alongside another author, Thomas Middleton. As a whole entity, it does not seem to flow as well as I have come to expect from the plays, and the plot is occasionally a little disjointed. The writing from scene to scene has an entirely different feel about it, which certainly leads me to believe that co-authorship had a hand in its creation. Timon of Athens is interesting from a cultural and historical perspective, but it is by no means one of his best.
All’s Well That Ends Well ****
This is one of Shakespeare’s ‘least performed and least loved comedies’. (Are you noticing a theme here?) Granted, it did not feel as funny as the other comedy plays; perhaps because the underlying plot is quite melancholy at times. I found All’s Well That Ends Well very enjoyable on the whole, however, and feel that it is a good play to end on. It is well written, and flows nicely, particularly in comparison to the aforementioned!
If any of you are thinking of embarking on such an ambitious challenge, I would advise you that it is incredibly rewarding to do so, and wish you the best of luck.