BP’s cultural sponsorship seems to be spreading like a rash. They evidently feel they have a lot to do to win back the public’s confidence in their brand. In the latest twist they are sponsoring The World Shakespeare Festival. But fear ye not, as actors, directors and playwrights have piped up denouncing the fearful brand’s despoiling of the favoured Bard. And cheeky activists too, have taken the Bard’s lyrical language and exposed the dirty deeds of the ones that seek to profit from their association with such cultural treasures past. And lo’ did the audience think their performance and message was good… Follow their exploits here.
Even RSC writer-in-residence Mark Ravenhill’s new sonnet for Shakespeare’s birthday seems to be cursing the branding of the bard. See what you think…
Reclaim Shakespeare Company
Ladies and Gentlemen, there will now be a two-minute performance by the Reclaim Shakespeare
What country, friends, is this? [raises programme]
Where the words of our most prized poet
Can be bought to beautify a patron
So unnatural as British Petroleum?
Strange association! [Performer One unveils image of BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling disaster]
They, who have incensed the seas and shores
From a dark deepwater horizon
Who have unleashed most foul destruction [Performer One unveils image of tar sands]
Upon far Canada’s aged forests,
Clawing out the lungs of our sickening earth
Who even now would bespoil the high, white Arctic [Performer One unveils image of
In desperate search of more black gold
To make them ever richer. These savage villains!
And yet –
They wear a painted face of bright green leaves,
Mask themselves with sunshine.
And with fine deceitful words
They steal into our theatres, and our minds.
They would have us sleep.
But this great globe of ours is such stuff as dreams are made on.
Most delicate, wondrous, to be nurtured
For our children and theirs beyond.
Let not BP turn these dreams to nightmares.
Fuelling the Future? Thou liest malignant thing! [holding up programme, looking at back page]
Do we sleep?
I find not myself disposed to sleep.
Let us break their staff that would bewitch us!
Out damned logo! [rips out logo from programme]
Audience starts to applaud.
We invite you to join us in tearing the logo from your programme.
Please help us to free the arts from BP.
There will be people with buckets to collect these logos at the end of the performance.
We are the Reclaim Shakespeare Company.
We hope you enjoy tonight’s show.
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