Follow by Email

Thursday, 8 September 2016

The Many Faces of Shakespeare

Many people ask me about the artwork for Undead Bard.  This is, of course, a lie - no one does - but it's nice to pretend.  You could have a go if you like.  Go on, ask me on Twitter @RobertCrighton - actually, ask me anything you like.  I might not know the answers, but hey...
The poster was created via a mix of careful preparation and random improvisation/chance.
I wanted to create a version of the famous picture of Shakespeare from the First Folio - you know the one, looks a bit like this.
Courtesy of our friends at Wiki
So I printed it off and started trying to paint my face to look a bit like it.  That was relatively easy, white then strokes of black, with strokes of a mascara brush across the skin to make my face look etched.  I'd love to say the process was all glamour, but it was me, a grubby mirror and that's it.
Here's a video of my attempt.

Then, with a bit of cardboard to act as a rough collar, I took a lot of photos.  The one I chose was this one.

Doesn't look like much, does it?  I mean, it's the wrong way round for a start.  (That was deliberate, not because I forgot that mirrors reverse things... honest.)

Well, then I put it into the computer, upped the contrast and removed colour - to create a black and white etched look.  Then I removed all the white, so that it was just the black etching lines and layered this etch over the original photo - so that there were hard lines detailing the face.  Then I messed around with the photo - adjusting the colour palate.  I was going to bleed the colour out, but I decided I liked the weird colours and textures and so made more of them.
Finally, I took a version of the Folio image to layer over the picture - to replace my hair and the collar, so that the image was more clearly like the Folio Shakespeare.  There needed to be some anchor points to show who it was.
The final picture is very different to what I'd planned - more colourful, a bit Soviet, and slightly terrifying.  It's Shakespeare as scary Big Brother - and I rather like it.

I then, for the hell of it, took the unused pictures to create an Andy Warhol style picture board of different faces of Shakespeare - as the show could perhaps be subtitled The Many Faces of Shakespeare.  
Just a pity I didn't think of that earlier.

Milk Bottle Productions Presents...
By multi award-winning writer and performer Robert Crighton

Shakespeare is dead, but he just won’t stop talking.  His words are immortal, but they keep changing.  Award-winning writer and performer Robert Crighton explores the current boom in Shakespeare and how everything is now devoted to his holy name.  Undead Bard is an unholy smorgasbord of play, comedy, and music, pulling apart Shakespeare, Bardolatry, and the modern world, for your pleasure.
More details about the show and online podcasts on the Undead Bard at

Audience Comments for earlier ‘Undead Bard’ show ‘The Shakespeare Delusion’ (2014):  “Fabulous production... Just recovering from high octane performance of @RobertCrighton The Shakespeare Delusion #immense...  I SO knew where The Shakespeare Delusion was going - & I was SO wrong!!! Chekhov meets Berkoff as performed by Stephen Fry.”

Performing at Theatre N16
Sunday 2nd October to Thursday 13th October at 7.30pm
Matinee at Saturday 8th October at 3pm
Tickets £12 / 10 concessions –
Theatre N16, The Bedford, 77 Bedford HillSW12 9HD -

All this work is supported by Patreon - without the support of my patrons I could not do shows like this.  To support more work like this go to

No comments:

Post a Comment