By Heart

Rodrigues, Tiago 2013

In By Heart, a poem is taught to ten people who had never seen the show before and had no idea that they were about to memorize something in front of an audience. Tiago Rodrigues teaches them lines while he tells stories about his grandmother and reads excerpts from other texts, from George Steiner to Boris Pasternak. Learning something by heart is described or perceived as an act of resistance, and Steiner is quoted: “When ten people know a poem by heart there is nothing the KGB, the CIA or the Gestapo might do. This poem will survive.” Read More

Romeu & Julieta (Romeo & Juliet: An excellent and lamentable dessert)

Simões, Marta 2017

Based on the classical love story from William Shakespeare, the actors tell the story of this ill­-fated romance, mixing it with a cheesecake that takes the name of the protagonists. The blood of the lovers is guava jam, the sword fights are conducted with spatulas and a bite of a Rich Tea biscuit can be a delicious alternative to a broken heart. After the success of Hamlet sou eu and Granda Pinta, Teatro Praga are returning to Teatro Maria Matos with a surprising interpretation of Shakespeare’s classic play. Read More

Macbeth

Cardoso, João Paulo Ceara 2001

Darkness and red lighting kicks off the murderous and phantasmagorical mood in this puppet theatre production of Macbeth. Although hardly noticeable in the video recording, a horde of idle, motionless puppets furnish the venue, surrounding the audience – and like the audience and like Macbeth, look on, unable to dissuade fate. Puppeteering is, on many levels, a rather fitting form of staging the Scottish Thane-Become-King. Read More

A Tempestade (The Tempest)

2013

A performance by Teatro Praga. Based on William Shakespeare’s The Tempest and Henry Purcell’s The Enchanted Island. Critics have observed how, in The Tempest, Shakespeare presents an island in which the virtues and flaws of characters are highlighted. This is the reason the island differs from character to character, depending on their past, personality, and intentions. The island depends on the personality of each person, which is why some have bad dreams and others good ones, some see images of usurpation and others a paradise island. As Harold Goddard puts it, “To innocent senses the isle itself is pure loveliness; to corrupted ones it is no better than a swamp”. Or, as Northrop Frye argues, “In this island the quality of one’s dreaming is an index of character”. Likewise, in Teatro Praga’s adaptation of The Tempest we see ourselves. Read More

Sonho de uma Noite de verão (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)

2010

In the program notes that accompany Teatro Praga’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, members of the audience discover that what they are about to see “is a celebration in the pursuit of happiness and a tribute to power to the sound of Purcell and with a contemporary flavor, our flavor”. The notes further describe how “the production wants to provide enjoyment and relaxation” as, after all, “Why theater when all you want to think about is Summer and Love?” Those sitting in the theater will soon discover that this is not what one would consider a traditional adaptation of Shakespeare, in the sense that the text has been erased and rewritten, while Purcell’s Fairy Queen and a number of contemporary plastic artists have been called upon to reinterpret the bard’s work. Read More

Hamlet sou eu (I am Hamlet)

Bento, Diogo; Jardim, Cláudia; Penim, Pedro 2007

In this children’s production of Hamlet, “to play” implies amusing or entertaining oneself while hearing a story, but also pretending to be someone else. These two ways of experiencing theater – observing it from the audience’s perspective and playing a role in it – have been joined together so that the children realize what it truly means, as the title of the show indicates, for one to be Hamlet (“Hamlet sou eu” [“I am Hamlet”]). Read More

Hamlet

Pessoa, Carlos J. 2012

Teatro da Garagem’s production of Hamlet, staged by Carlos Pessoa, trusts in minimal resources: the actors are mostly dressed in black and there are very few props. The set contains only a large wooden box which the actors move around several times in order to rearrange the space according to the scenes, so the box can be a stand where the characters sit to watch the play and a grave which hides half of the gravedigger’s body before the remains of Yorick pop out. Read More

Hamlet

Andrade, Jorge 2014

Mala Voadora is well known in Portugal for the way it questions theatrical mechanisms, which is why it usually chooses contemporary texts over a classical repertoire. For their first Shakespeare, the company asked Fernando Villas Boas, one of Portugal’s main translators of the author, to write a version of Hamlet’s First Quarto (also called the “bad quarto”), which had not been previously translated. The text was then cut and adapted for the stage with some changes (lines of Hamlet were included and minor scenes were rewritten so as to create an organic whole). Read More

Antony and Cleopatra

Rodrigues, Tiago 2014

Two Portuguese choreographers – Vítor Ruiz and Sofia Dias – were chosen to impersonate Antony and Cleopatra in this adaptation, in which Tiago Rodrigues creates his own text, borrowing freely from Shakespeare’s play and Plutarch’s Parallel Lives. In this show, both actors are on stage: Sofia describes Antony’s behavior, while Vítor characterizes Cleopatra, their lines representing what each character sees, says and does, so that what is usually left off stage – the text’s didascalia – has here been integrated into the text. Read More

Otelo (Othello)

Bittencourt, Jefferson 2014

OTELO, an adaptation of the play Othello written by William Shakespeare (1564-1616), is a new production from Persona Cia de Teatro, based in Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, Brazil. The premiere took place in 2014, the year in which the 450th anniversary of the birth of one of the greatest writers of the world was celebrated worldwide. The show Otelo was awarded the Prêmio Funarte Myriam Muniz 2013, in the ensemble category and the Prêmio Elisabete Anderle de Estímulo à Cultura 2013, by the Fundação Catarinense de Cultura. The show tells the story of Othello, the president of an important company, who is led into the trap of his secretary, Iara. Read More

O Principe da Dinamarca (The Prince of Denmark)

Brandini, Ângelo 2011

In their third adaption of Shakespeare, Cia Vagalum Tum Tum transforms Hamlet into a comedy for young audiences in O Principe da Dinamarca.  The action takes place in an abandoned graveyard where two amusing grave diggers, called “To Be” or “Not To Be”, decide to relive the story of the Prince of Denmark. The subject of death in the form of murders, suicide and violent revenge is treated humorously: all characters are dead and it is their skeletons that tell and enact the story of a prince who wants to revenge his father’s death. Blending elements of clowning,  the humorous skeletons dance, play instruments, sing and perform. Read More

Bruxas da Escócia (The Witches of Scotland)

Brandini, Ângelo 2014

Bruxas da Escócia (The Witches from Scotland) is Vagalum Tum Tum Theatre Company’s fourth stage adaptation of Shakespeare for children. In the same approach of Vagalum’s earlier comedic adaptations, Bruxas da Ecócia amalgamates physical theatre, clowning and, Commedia dell’Arte techniques with Shakespeare’s narrative. In acrobatic numbers, clowns enact and embody Shakespeare’s play physically so that it communicates easily with a young audience. Macbeth is a clumsy and irresolute general married to a very determined and scheming Lady Macbeth. The actors explore the double side of the protagonist well: brave and coward; ambitious and yet hesitant to succumb to evil. Moving up from the title of The King’s Best Friend to Monarch, Macbeth suffers through some shameful and humorous situations. The tragic elements of Shakespeare’s text are transformed through the lens of the clown and yet retain the fundamental themes of the source text. Macbeth’s victims are catapulted to their deaths, the forest moves and is treated as a character and the vibrant music, composed by Fernando Escrich, is played and sung onstage by Vagalum’s resourceful actors. Read More

O Bobo do Rei (The King’s Fool)

Brandini, Ângelo 2010

O Bobo do Rei (The King’s Fool) transposes the tragic elements from King Lear into Commedia dell’Arte Stock characters. King Lear carries characteristics of the old cantankerous Pantalone, but also displays the lyricism of of an aged man who has to overcome his biggest tribulation yet to reach wisdom. Goneril and Reagan become female Brighellas, scheming and vindictive. Cordelia is performed in the style of the romantic Inamoratti. The court jester is Arlequino, intelligent and witty enough to pass as fool, the fool is the voice of wisdom and truth. The story is told from his perspective. Read More

Timon de Atenas

Gomlevsky, Bruce 2014

This exceptional production, Timon de Atenas, was performed in Rio de Janeiro between October 10 and December 7, 2014 at the Teatro Maison de France and directed by Bruce Gomlevsky. The wonderful Vera Holtz stars as Timon (making the character gender neutral). Also starring Tonico Pereira as the philosopher Apemantus and Alice Borges as the faithful Flavia. Read More

The Street Taming of the Shrew

Oliveira, Jessé 2009

The theatre group Ueba Produtos Notáveis is a Brazilian street company based in Caxias do Sul (Rio Grande do Sul). Their street production A megera domada (2009), a free adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew (1592), displays  specificities and motives borrowed from the commedia dell’arte, among them comic/grotesque acting techniques, stereotyped characterization, improvisation and theatre in the round with no separation between audience and performers. Read More

Synchretic Hamlet

Oliveira, Jessé 2005

Hamlet Sincrético (Syncretic Hamlet, 2005) is a collaborative production by Grupo Caixa Petra that adapts Shakespeare’s Hamlet from a “black aesthetic”. It draws on Afro Brazilian cultural and religious syncretic elements as metaphors to retell Shakespeare’s tragedy. The production respects the linearity of the source play but does not reproduce its language which follows the particular nature of each character. The characters are incarnations of types or characters from Afro-Brazilian mythology and religions. For instance, while Hamlet’s role as the seeker of justice is associated with Xangô, the *orixá (or orisha) of justice and wisdom, the ghost is linked to Oxalá, the sky father orisha. Gertrudes is the queen of carnival and Polonius is characterized as a former *Candomblé priest converted into an evangelical preacher. Claudius is portrayed as Zé Pilintra, a folk character in the *Umbanda and *Catimbó traditions known for his bohemianism and wild partying. Read More

Romeo & Juliet: at the Globe Theatre

Villela, Gabriel 2000

Grupo Galpão’s Romeu e Julieta is an intercultural adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, a production that intentionally draws on a range of popular practices such as street theatre, circus performance and the tradition of the commedia dell’arte, as well as on elements from the cultural imaginary of Minas Gerais in southeast Brazil. This production was staged in 2000 at the Globe Theatre in London. Read More

Romeu e Julieta

Villela, Gabriel 1992 | 4 Comments

Grupo Galpão’s Romeu e Julieta (1992), directed by Gabriel Villela, is an intercultural adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, a production that intentionally draws on a range of popular practices such as street theatre, circus performance and the tradition of the commedia dell’arte, as well as on elements from the cultural imaginary of Minas Gerais in southeast Brazil. Read More

Macbeth

Teixeira, Ana 2004

Macbeth is a bloodstained drama, drowned in darkness, trespassed by screams of horror. The play is surrounded by a thick mist, where the apparitions confuse the reality of things and the forces of evil, relentlessly invoked, materialized in terrible ways. Read More

Two Roses for Richard III

Baltar, Cláudio; Ferreira, Fábio 2012

Two Roses for Richard III is Brazilian theatre company Companhia BufoMecânica’s visual interpretation of Richard III, commissioned for the 2012 World Shakespeare Festival. The production blended theatre with acrobatics, multimedia displays and circus. Read More

Dois Cavalheiros de Verona (Two Gentlemen of Verona)

Fraga, Gutti (Guti) 2006 | One Comment

Commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company as part of the Complete Works Festival in 2006, the award winning community theatre company Nós do Morro (We from the Favela/Hillside) displays a fresh and energetic performance of Shakespeare’s The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Switching effortlessly from the comic to the serious, the plotline is infused by vibrating music and movement. Read More

R & J de Shakespeare: Juventude Interrompida (R & J: Youth Interrupted)

Fonseca, João 2011

In the same vein as Dead Poet’s Society, the story is set in the repressed atmosphere of an all male boarding school where four students engage in a clandestine reading of Romeo and Juliet. As the boys express their repressed emotions and passions through Shakespeare’s verse, they start to merge with the roles of the characters in Romeo and Juliet, and the tale blurs the boundaries between reality and fiction. Read More

Estou te escrevendo de um país distante (I’m Writing You from a Distant Country)

Hirsch, Felipe 1997

I’m writing You from a Distant Country is a contemporary version of Hamlet which was written and directed by Felipe Hirsch in 1997. Hirsch uses the text of Shakespeare as a pretext, reworking themes already dramatically elaborated in order to represent them as a new material to reflect on, making use of a metatheatrical structure that becomes the backbone of the spectacle in terms of content and conception. Read More

A Megera Domada (The Taming of the Shrew)

Fagundes, Patricia 2008

A megera domada (2008) is a stage adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew (1592), produced by Cia. Rústica  (Rustic Theatre Company) based in Porto Alegre in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. The production, directed by Patrícia Fagundes, is part of a project entitled “In Search of Shakespeare” (“Em busca de Shakespeare”), which includes Macbeth, the Bandit Hero (2004) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2006). Since its inception, the guideline of the project has been to create a festive, popular Shakespeare, developing  contemporary artistic languages for staging his plays. Read More

Sonho de uma noite de verão (Midsummer Night’s Dream)

Marchioro, Marcelo 1992

This performance was part of the project Shakespeare in the Park – Curitiba, and the stage was constructed inside a barn. It was a re-reading of the Elizabethan stage. There were pools of water and trap-doors which the “fairies” used to appear and disappear, creating a magical atmosphere. Read More

Hamlet

Marchioro, Marcelo 1991

The production of Hamlet (1992) was part of a larger project idealized and concretized by the Brazilian director Marcelo Marchioro, in Curitiba PR, entitled “Shakespeare in the Park”, which aimed at popularizing Shakespeare for Brazilian audiences. Read More

Sonho de uma Noite de Verao: uma intromissao do grupo Nós do Morro no mundo de Shakespeare (Midsummer’s Night Dream)

Mello da Costa, Fernando 2004 | 2 Comments

Sonho de uma Noite de Verão – uma intromissão no mundo de Shakespeare (Midsummer Night’s Dream – an intromission in the world of Shakespeare), directed by Fernando Mello da Costa, is the first Shakespearean stage adaptation from award winning community based theatre company, Nós do Morro. Declaring to be an “intromission” into the world of Shakespeare, the Brazilian performance recreates the atmosphere of love, fantasy and dream present in the original text. The blurring of the boundaries between reality and fantasy is creatively introduced before the actual play starts, in the foyer of the theatre. Read More

Romeu e Julieta: Ontem Verona, Hoje Vidigal (Yesterday Verona, Today Vidigal) – (2009)

Fraga, Gutti (Guti) 2009

Nós do Morro – Romeu e Julieta: Ontem Verona, Hoje Vidigal (2009) (Yesterday Verona, Today Vidigal).

This is an amateur children’s production of Romeo and Juliet. The group of children from the community/ favela prepare for the mounting of the play, they perform it and, then, they briefly comment on the sense of identity that theater brings to the community.

Article written by Cristiane Busato Smith, “Nós do Morro: Voice, Art, and Empowerment”

 

 

Othelito

Brandini, Ângelo 2007

Othelito (2007), adapted and directed by Ângelo Brandini, is a stage re-visitation of Shakespeare’s Othello, the Moor of Venice from the point of view of comedy. The main characters become commedia dell’arte archetypes: Othelito is the Captain, a fearful fellow who is always boasting his achievements. Brabantio becomes a Pantalone of sorts, a cantankerous old miser. Iago is Briguela, the crafty villain. Cassio and Desdemona are the Enamorados, typical romantic characters. Read More

Otelo da Mangueira

Herz, Daniel 2006-2007 | 2 Comments

Otelo da Mangueira, a musical stage-adaptation directed by Daniel Herz, is an ingenious transposition of Shakespeare´s Othello to the traditional Brazilian universe of the Samba Schools whose pageants attract thousands of tourists from all over the world every year. Gustavo Gasparani, who is the writer of the performance text, has succeeded in metamorphosing the main characters of the Shakespearian plot into a dispute for consecrating the samba-song at Morro da Mangueira, Rio de Janeiro, during the carnival of 1940, which is the year samba was raised to the category of national rhythm. Read More

Ensaio. Hamlet.

2004

Ensaio. Hamlet. (2004), a collective experiment by Cia. dos Atores, directed by Enrique Diaz, tore Shakespeare’s Hamlet (1604-1605) to pieces to explore contemporary issues emerging after the election of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the first candidate the Workers’ Party (PT) elected for president in Brazil. Specific topics from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, such as power, misconduct, incest, fratricide and madness were appropriated and used as material to create new scenes pregnant with contemporary signifiers. Read More

Ham-let

Martinez Corrêa, José Celso 1993

With his five-hour production of Ham-let (1993-4), director José Celso Martinez Corrêa, known as Zé Celso, shocked purists who prefer not to see the Shakespearean text desecrated, but he was equally revered by his creative talent. In proposing a Brazilian Hamlet, this exuberant rendition achieves a liberation from the Shakespearean text by proclaiming and celebrating its affiliations to Brazilian culture and themes. Read More

Macbeth, the Scottish Play

Galdino, Regina 2008 | 4 Comments

The stark minimalism of the staging of Macbeth, the Scottish Play (Macbeth, a Peça Escocesa) does not affect the quality of its performance. Performing with the bare minimum, the actors were at home with the text and knew how to communicate it well to the audience. The bareness of the stage also helps to accentuate the eeriness and other-worldly quality of the weird sisters. Read More

The Intimate Memoirs of Madame Shakespeare

di Biasi, Emilio 2007 | One Comment

Anne: “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”– he asked me. “No, thank you!” I replied. Anne Hathaway’s dismissive words in the beginning of The Intimate Diaries of Madam Shakespeare (2007) set the tone for the Brazilian stage adaptation of Robert Nye’s novel, Mrs. Shakespeare: The Complete Works (2001). The quote from the famous sonnet and Anne’s smug dismissal of her husband’s words capture the spirit of the play. Read More

Trono de Sangue (Throne of Blood)

Antunes Filho, José Alves 1992 | One Comment

Trono de Sangue (Throne of Blood/Macbeth), the title of Brazilian director Antunes Filho’s staging of the Shakespearean tragedy, refers explicitly to Akira Kurosawa’s film, and puts into relief its intermedial characteristics. The director carried his well-known devotion to the cinema into the aesthetics of spectacle which resulted in a beautiful visual achievement with clear references to Noh Theatre. Read More

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Fagundes, Patricia 2006

Musical theatre in cabaret atmosphere: Patrícia Fagundes’ adaptation for the stage of A Midsummer Night’s Dream subverts traditional protocols by fusing multiple media, such as theatre, dance and music, and by mixing and refashioning elements from popular culture and mass media. The Brazilian director’s decision to set the play in a cabaret, transporting the inventive Shakespearean plot into the cultural imaginary of the 20th century is highly appropriate if we think about the fragmented, multiperspective structure that governs the texture of the play. Read More

Much Ado About Almost Nothing

Yamamoto, Fernando 2003 | 2 Comments

Part of the repertoire of the acclaimed Brazilian troupe Clowns de Shakespeare, Much Ado About Almost Nothing premiered in Natal (RN) in 2003 and toured Brazil for six years. It chronicles two distinct love stories: the sugary romance between Claudio and Hero and the war of witty insults between fiery Benedicto and Beatriz. In order to have a happy ending the lovers will have to escape the Machiavellian traps that villain Dom Joao plots for them. Read More

Macbeth

Cruz, Ulysses 1992 | 2 Comments

Described as “a disturbing reflexion on power”, the Brazilian stage production of Macbeth toured many cities in Brazil in 1992 and became a commercial success despite the negative reviews. Read More