By Bill Walthall

I had planned to discuss wounds in Coriolanus today. But that play isn’t going away for a while. And a genius of the modern stage has recently gone away forever, so today an extended break from our Roman grumpy general.

On Sunday, famed Welsh stage director Michael Bogdanov passed away at the age of 78.

Though he continued to work in Germany up until last year, he is most famous for his Shakespeare production from the the 1970s through 1990s. In the 70s, he had two runs with the Royal Shakespeare Company, with notable productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (on which he worked as Peter Brook’s associate director on that groundbreaking production) and The Taming of the Shrew in 1978 (for which he won the Olivier award for direction). In the 80s, he worked as the Associate Artistic Director of the Royal National Theatre, as well as working internationally on Shakespeare in Ireland, Japan, Canada, and Germany. In 1986, he and actor Michael Pennington formed the English Shakespeare Company, for which he directed probably his most well-known piece, the 7-play conflation of the English history plays, The Wars of the Roses, a cycle that toured the globe.

I’ve got a playlist of brutally bad bootlegs of those plays on our YouTube page. Despite their visual quality, the cycle is absolutely required viewing (especially if you’re a fan of the histories)…

He obviously was wonderful to work with, given the tributes to him.

Michael Bogdanov founded the National Theatre cricket team. Provocative on the stage, chaotic on the pitch, hilarious in the dressing room

— John Langley (@jlangley99) April 18, 2017

Sounds like a helluva man.

Michael Bogdanov 1938-2017

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