Classically trained stage actor Mark Cohen teams with award winning filmmaker Joshua Dylan Mellars in a mesmerizing, minimalist montage of Shakespeare soliloquies. The camera captures Cohen—who honed his craft at Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) affiliate Guildhall in London—as he performs a riveting one-man show of the Bard’s most intriguing characters. From the storm tossed, supernatural world of The Tempest to the dank, dark corridors of Macbeth’s Dunsinane, Cohen and the camera collaborate in a celebration of Shakespeare’s poetry.
Shakespeare in the Shadows takes its inspiration from the drama, the rhythm, the musicality of Shakespeare’s prosody. Mellars—who previously produced a diverse group of music documentaries highlighting genres from around the world—decided to use the aural aesthetics of Cohen’s performances as a guide to find the tempo, measure the dynamics, and set the tone for the filming process.
The San Francisco/Northern California Emmy-nominated production is airing on PBS stations in the US and Canada. Prior to television distribution, an initial short version of the film screened at the Tiburon International Film Festival and won an award for “Dramatic Adaptation” at the World-Fest Houston International Film Festival.