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“Coriolanus,” Shakespeare’s most explicitly political play, has largely failed to hold the American stage. It has been mounted on Broadway only once, by the WPA’s Federal Theatre Project in 1938, and I’ve reviewed just three productions in the past 18 years, most recently in Central Park in 2019. At first glance, this makes no sense. “ Coriolanus ” is a truly great work of theatrical art, one that T.S. Eliot thought better than “Hamlet,” and the plot, which pits the title character, an unabashedly proud patrician, against the common folk, easily lends itself to updating. Why, then, is it not done more often? Could it be because modern, democratically minded audiences are ill at ease with casting such a man as a hero and placing him at the heart of the action?
Whatever the reason, “Coriolanus” is a masterpiece all the same. Hence it is a delight to report that Philadelphia’s Lantern Theater Company is webcasting a broadcast-quality archival video of a live performance of a small-scale 12-actor 2017 production—one that is, like the similarly scaled Lantern staging of “The Tempest” that I reviewed in this space last month, outstanding in every way….
* * *Read the whole thing here.