Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall documents the rise of Thomas Cromwell, one of history’s most famous anti-heroes. Chronicling Henry VIII’s ill-fated marriage to Anne Boleyn, it is just one of many accounts of life in Tudor times under Henry VIII.
However as well known as the story may be, Mr S hears that there are fears it could be lost on Americans when the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Wolf Hall transfers from the West End to Broadway next month. The New York Post reports that producers have made some changes to the play in an attempt to make it more palatable to American audiences.
Due to fears that the Tudor tale would be lost on Americans, the play has been shortened to make it easier to understand, and some regional references have been taken out. Nathaniel Parker, who plays Henry VIII in the production, says even more changes could yet be made:
‘America’s version has changes. Less regional references. We open on April 9, so I’m not yet sure of them all… Audiences here are different. It’s not your history, it’s ours. So the performance will be subtler. More nuanced. And we’re shortening it somewhat. Making it clearer for the sake of the play.’
If this is the predicted response to the play, how will Americans cope with the BBC’s drawn-out television adaptation?