Most Shakespeare Festivals in the world would have loved to have been able to say that they had ten million playgoers attend their festival, but for the 2012 Wuxi Expat Shakespeare Festival being able to say this was a massive disappointment. For the ten million attendance figure for the Festival, held in the first week of October, represented a massive decline from the 450 million who attended the 2011 Wuxi Expat Shakespeare Festival.
Wuxi China Expatdom Shakespeare Appreciation Society President and Festival Organizer Lord Kenneth Branaugh blamed the decline in attendance on the fact that the five best Shakespearean Actors and the best Shakespearean actress in the Expatdom, and thus the World, were currently on the surface of Mars with the Zhanshen Six Mission. Said Branaugh: "In 2011, Archduke Sir Harry Moore gave the most muscular and virile performance and interpretation of Hamlet in human history. And his performance of Brutus in Julius Caesar was such that many believed the rain that fell immediately after the performance was a result of Sir Lawrence Olivier and David Garrick shedding tears of admiration in actors heaven! Chief Inspector Harry Callahan’s performances in Henry V and Othello gave new meaning to words dark and introspective! Wuxi China Expatdom Royal Air Force Commander Air Marshall Gregory Peck’s performance of King Lear caused many old-timers to recall the great early 19th century actor Johnston Forbes-Robertson! Wuxi China Expatdom Royal Navy Commander Admiral Lloyd Bridges’s rendering of Falstaff was genius in that it put a new spin on the role that had hitherto assumed to have been milked for all it’s worth! Gambay’s Co-Manager Fred Minkleman’s performance of Macbeth caused even older old-timers to recall the great early 18th century actor Charles Macklin! And Miss Moneypenny performances as Lady Macbeth and Desdamona put Helen Miren and Judi Dench to shame! There was no way we were going to be able to repeat those great moments in Shakespearean acting history, as it turned out!"
Branaugh, who was said to have cried when he saw the Zhanshen 6 rocket, carrying the actors turned Expatonauts, head to Mars, told the WCE Blog: "My plans for the 2012 WCE Shakespeare Festival were dashed when that Modified Saturn 6 Rocket left the bounds of this swirly Earth! I had received 2 billion requests for tickets to see Harry Moore and Mrs. Miss Moneypenny who had been tentatively scheduled to do a performance of Romeo and Juliet with newly added scenes of love making. We had started to build a 1.5 billion seat theater for the performance. I then got nearly one billion nine hundred ninety nine million, nine hundred ninety nine thousand cancellations when it was announced that their understudies, Brad Pitt and Angela Jolie, were to perform instead. And getting the likes of Al Pacino, Christian Slater, Meryl Strep, Julie Roberts, Whoopi Goldberg, Mick Jagger, Tony Blair, Bill Clinton, Bono, Rory Atkinson, George Clooney and Denzel Washington to perform did nothing to revive ticket sales!"
A sighing Branaugh ended the interview with the WCE Blog by saying: "It was a real shame, for me, that these great actors are on the surface of Mars. I believe they are the last of what will become an extinct breed: manly, masculine, muscular, virile, dynamic, paradigm-changing, adult-like Shakespearean Actors! I pray that they will be able to come to the 2013 Wuxi China Expatdom Shakespeare Festival!"