Ron Daniels' Japanese-inspired production at The Other Place was critically acclaimed and featured a thrilling Timon from Richard Pasco.

A man dressed in light kimono with coloured trim kneels holding up a bowl of food in a ritualistic manner
Timon (Richard Pasco) prepares a feast, 1980, The Other Place.
Photo by Joe Cocks Studio Collection © Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Browse and license our images


Director Ron Daniels and designer Chris Dyer chose a traditional Japanese setting for the production. Timon and his guests were dressed in wide-sleeved kimonos with brightly coloured trims, while Alcibiades wore red Samurai-style armour. Sitting cross-legged on bleached floorboards, the guests used chopsticks to consume sushi from low tables. The bare set of Timon's palace, contrasting with the elegant costumes, suggested restrained luxury in keeping with the Japanese theme.


By staging the production in the studio space of The Other Place, the small cast intensified the drama, and Timon's tirades had particular force. Daniels emphasized the personal tragedy of Timon and Richard Pasco's verse-speaking and interpretation was universally praised by reviewers: "with his red-rimmed eyes, patchwork costume, and habit of gnawing passionately at root vegetables, he is the picture of desolation" Michael Billington, Guardian, 12 September 1980.


"Why should you want? Behold, the earth hath roots
Timon, Act 4 Scene 3

Typed instructions for stage management for Timon of Athens 1980 showing prop food preparation

The stage management team needed to prepare food to be used for each performance and in these instructions, you can see how they created both the banquet bowl contents and the 'roots' gnawed on by a destitute Timon in the second half of the play.

The roots used in the production were actually cooked potatoes, dyed with a burnt sugar solution to resemble vegetables that had just been unearthed.

For Timon's first banquet, the bowls contained a sushi arrangement of Wakame (edible seaweed), mussel shells filled with cottage cheese and strips of smoked salmon. The exact arrangement of the ingredients is shown in the helpful diagram at the end of the instructions.

Ragged man sits on wooden driftwood and holds hands with men standing on each side of him
A ragged Timon (Richard Pasco) greets the poet (Ned Vukivic) and the painter (Chris Hunter), 1980, The Other Place.
Photo by Joe Cocks Studio Collection © Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Browse and license our images


In contrast with the stylized luxury of the first half, Chris Dyer's set for the second half evoked the natural world: "a wood-block platform which is hollowed out and draped with nets and rags for the sea coast" Irving Wardle, The Times, 11 September 1980. Seagulls, waves and howling animals could be heard on the soundtrack.


With his chalked face and ragged clothes, Timon seemed to merge with the tattered material that surrounded him. The set was imaginatively used for Timon's death and to conceal his body on stage : "having spoken his last words... he pulls a net over his head and just sits there. It is an oddly satisfying finish, lending shape and defintion to a play that could just peter out, and Richard Pasco gives it the authentic accent of finality" Robert Cushman, Observer, 14 September 1980.

Typewritten cast list for Timon of Athens at The Other Place in 1980



The Other Place

Judy Buxton - First Lady, Phrynia

John Carlisle - Apemantus, Stranger

Rob Edwards – Lucullus (senator)

Shay Gorman - Senator

James Hazeldine - Alcibiades, Stranger

Chris Hunter - Painter, Lucullus (servant), Soldier

Arthur Kohn - Flavius, Stranger

Abraham Osuagwu - Isadore, Bandit, Jeweller, Cupid

Richard Pasco - Timon

Edwin Richfield - Old Athenian, Sempronius

Peter Settelen - Lucius

Jonathan Tafler - Bandit, Merchant, Caphis

Julia Tobin - Second Lady, Timandra

Ned Vukovic - Poet, Varro

Timothy Walker - Flaminius, Bandit

Ted Watson - Musician




Director – Ron Daniels

Designer – Chris Dyer

Lighting Designer – Leo Leibovici

Music – Guy Woolfenden


The RSC's archive is held at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. You can visit the Library and Archives there to look at production related information, including photos, videos of shows and stage management documents:

Shakespeare Centre Library and Archive homepage

You can search the RSC catalogue here: 

RSC performance database

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