Shaun McCarthy’s research for a nineteen-sixties resetting of Strindberg’s Miss Julie incorporated an iconic hairstyle, a nightclub run by gangsters, the 1963 dress of the year and the Beatles’ first number one album — and helped him give the play a mid-twentieth century twist.
The dark, haunting music of the Italian princely composer Don Carlo Gesualdo, and his equally dark life, has disturbed and inspired many writers. How then could Shaun McCarthy approach his subject anew? And how could he avoid ‘men and women moving around glum candlelit interiors in sixteenth-century costume’ and create something fresh?
When 'austerity theatre' must cut the cloth to fit tight financial constraints, the result is smaller casts, simpler sets and design. Even worse, says Shaun McCarthy, the playwright is eclipsed: instead of author-driven productions, theatre is awash with devised, collaborative works. These developments, he argues, should concern us.