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La Salle Professor: Modernizing the Bard Should Be Barred

Ralph Fiennes as the title character in Coriolanus. (Credit: The Weinstein Company)

Ralph Fiennes as the title character in Coriolanus. (Credit: The Weinstein Company)

John Ostapkovich John Ostapkovich
John Ostapkovich brings humor and wit, and a wealth of experience...
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By John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The actor who was Voldemort in the Harry Potter films is now playing another guy who’s difficult to like, in a modern setting for a Shakespearean tragedy. A Shakespeare scholar asks, why bother?

“My name is Caius Marcius Coriolanus,” says Ralph Fiennes as title character (and director) of Coriolanus, about a great warrior’s rise to lousy leader, this version set in Eastern Europe of today.

Robert Fallon, Professor Emeritus of English at La Salle takes a dim view of modernizing the Bard. “Efforts to bring it up to date, to make it topical, are not needed. I mean, the play presents it as a Roman play is already topical, as we’re finding in our reading, brings up all sorts of implications of what happened last year.”

Meaning the Arab Spring and the Occupy movement, which Professor Fallon says jumped off the page even in the Roman setting.