A Mirror up to Nature is a 60 minute, one-man show about the world Shakespeare wrote about. I have acted and directed different versions of this show for 30 years. I have also directed university and high school productions. The Public Hanging has always been the best speech. The rest of the show always consisted of pieces from the resource page and monologues and scenes from the series. With insightful and judicious casting, teachers can create such a show, maximizing the abilities of their students and the time they have to rehearse.
CBC Radio 2007 Toronto Fringe *****
Put "A Mirror up to Nature" at the top of your list!
Plank Magazine, Roanna Zuker, Vancouver Fringe, 2011
We can't be anything but amazed watching this master of character transition in and out of his many roles and in such rapid sequence but yet as smoothly and with such precision that we hardly realize what has happened until we are onto the next act. This performance is a lesson and one we can all use.
Toronto Star - Highly recommended! Richard Ouzounian,
Rodger Barton is an actor who knows and loves Elizabethan England. On a bare stage with no props, he brings us into the world using the age’s major tool: its vivid love of language. He takes us everywhere, from the intrigues of court to a detailed description of a public execution. At the end we know much more about Shakespeare and the society that helped create him than we did going in, and we learned it in an entertaining manner.
In the Bard’s own words, "This is as’t should be.”
Eye Weekly - Four stars ****
Shakespeare fanatics will enjoy this passionate performance. Barton’s dense descriptions of morbidly fascinating Elizabethan London are captivating. It is the best background reading I have ever done!
Fringe audience members wrote:
- Only 4 stars? No, this one has an intellectual underpinning that makes it deeply satisfying. And what an acting tour de force! Definitely a 5 star play.
- He jumped into an Elizabethan persona, narrating the environs, recreations, politics, events, and characters and giving us the context that surrounded Shakespeare’s Elizabethan England and plays. Like an Elizabethan Spalding Grey, we got a grand tour so lavishly described we could almost taste the bread and smell the shit in the chamber pots.
- It’s not often that a show is presented by someone who has such sincerity and clear respect for the material…wonderful.
Robert Wisden, St George's School, Vancouver, April, 2011
I brought over 300 kids down to the theatre for the show, and for 50 minutes they were enthralled with Rodger's vivid evocations of the smells, sights and sounds of Tudor London; and how he connected Bill's words with our modern language. At the lunchtime workshop that followed teachers and students were speaking Shakespeare with great gusto.
Mellisa Bailey-Bean, Timiskaming District Secondary School, Now, 2008
Rodger Barton's one-man show, "A Mirror Up To Nature", is a phenomenal resource for teachers of English and students of Shakespeare. His energetic and cerebral performance will inspire anyone to delve into the complexity of William Shakespeare.
Catherine Evans, Bishop's College
The show is choc-a-bloc with information, anecdotes, jokes and horrors. Rodger's sheer passion was motivating and moving for all of us.