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Romeo and Juliet directed by Dejan Projkovski and performed by the Vera Komissarzhevskaya Theatre, St Petersburg, Russia and the National Theatre Bitola, Macedonia
BITOLA INTERNATIONAL SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL
Bitola, Macedonia, 19-25 July 2013
Bitola’s National Theatre of Macedonia is boldly picking up where last year’s brilliant Globe-to-Globe Festival in London left off.
International festivals and local companies world-wide have long been reshaping Shakespeare as a multilingual and multicultural dramatic property. As part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad, Globe-to-Globe took these ongoing experiments in intercultural exchange to a new level. Presenting Shakespeare’s 37 plays and non-dramatic poems in 40 languages over an eight-week programme, Globe-to-Globe launched an interactive paradigm for a planetary Shakespeare.
The Bitola Shakespeare Festival is making the next major contribution to this exciting venture. Between 19-26 July it will present eight Shakespeare plays and adaptations in seven languages by companies from Europe, Asia, and North America. The opening co-production of Romeo and Juliet by the National Theatre of Macedonia, Skopje, and the Vera Kommisazhevskaya Theatre, St Petersburg enhances the kind of artistic and cultural reciprocity which Globe-to-Globe modelled so successfully.
The closing production of Richard III by the National Theatre of China, Beijing, will give local audiences a chance to watch the critically acclaimed Globe-to-Globe production in a new setting: the 1st-century BC Roman amphitheatre in Heraclea Lycestis on the outskirts of Bitola. Spectators will also be able to see the much-anticipated classical Chinese costumes and properties that accidentally failed to reach Shakespeare’s Globe in time for last year’s performances. With them included, this year’s production will enrich the cultural dialogue between Asian and Western Shakespeares which NTC actors performed so enthrallingly in plain costumes on a bare stage.
The Festival will also reprise the Globe-to-Globe’s innovative and much-praised cycle of three Henry VI plays by the National Theatre of Serbia, Belgrade, Tirana’s National Theatre of Albania, and the National Theatre of Bitola. Having watched these plays last year before audiences made up partly of London’s Serbian, Albanian, and Macedonian communities, I am looking forward to seeing how audiences respond when they are staged before local audiences in Bitola, Macedonia’s second-largest city.
Performing Shakespeare in non-English languages raises fascinating questions of translation into contemporary verbal idioms and diverse visual and performance traditions. Festival audiences will be able to gauge the strengths and limits of Shakespeare’s openness to such appropriations in Taganka Theatre Moscow’s production of Twelfth Night, and in Nina Sallinen’s Finnish adaptation Poor, Poor Lear. Santa Barbara’s Lit Moon Theatre production of The Tempest will also explore the story and audience dynamics of an English postcolonial fable in a post-Soviet setting.
Information courtesy of Randall Martin
Randall Martin is Professor of English at the University of New Brunswick. His books include Henry VI Part Three (ed. 2001), Women, Murder, and Equity in Early Modern England (2008), Shakespeare / Adaptation / Modern Drama (co-ed. with Katherine Scheil, 2011) and Shakespeare and Ecology (2015).
Russian and Macedonian co-production of Romeo and Juliet
Note: Bitola Shakespeare Festival
Note: Bitola Shakespeare Festival