The Tempest is a play of "maturity" where A Midsummer Night's Dream is not. Thus the only way truly to understand a given Shakespeare play is to achieve roughly the same level of life-experience as Shakespeare at the moment of composition. As a result, she finds that it is in middle age, that she can begin to make sense of the play. By far the most sustained engagement of any theatre professional in the twentieth century with The Tempest and specifically with the role of Prospero was that of Sir John Gielgud. When Gielgud died in 2000 at the age of 96, the leading London theatre critic Michael Billington, writing in The Guardian about the great actor's life on the stage, singled out his Prospero at Stratford in 1957 as a "classic example of Gielgud's ability to redefine a role.