Monday, November 28, 2005

Shakespeare-inspired Tent for Peace

Sewn-together forgiveness handkerchiefs headed for Lebanon

BEIRUT: A Tent for Peace is headed for Lebanon, woven by children from around the world and inspired by one of William Shakespeare's best-known plays. In the ambitious hope of promoting love, peace and forgiveness, the Shakespeare's Globe organization's Globe Education program launched an international handkerchief design contest based on the playwright's Othello. In the play, Othello gives his wife Desdemona a handkerchief "spotted with strawberries" as a love-token. But when Desdemona cannot find it, Othello's jealous suspicions erupt into rage and Desdemona offers a second handkerchief - a handkerchief of peace and forgiveness - to calm him.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

A Czech Hamlet, recast as a rock star, aims for Broadway

Creating a musical version of what many consider the world's greatest tragedy requires a certain level of boldness and a willingness to take risks. Janek Ledecky´, the author of the original Czech version of the musical Hamlet, recalls that when he first started working on it, his friends told him it was a crazy idea and tried to dissuade him from going through with the project.

But his perseverance paid off. After a successful three-year run, Hamlet, the musical, has been brought back to the theater in a new incarnation: Rewritten in English, it's pitched at American audiences with the hope of eventually staging it on Broadway. Before that happens, musical enthusiasts have the opportunity to see the American version at Divadlo Kalich in Prague.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

'Literary' texts no more?
Project reduces classic works to text messages
LONDON, England (AP) -- "Romeo, Romeo -- wher4 Rt thou Romeo?"

It could be the future of Shakespeare.

Dot mobile, a British mobile phone service aimed at students, says it plans to condense classic works of literature into SMS text messages. The company claims the service will be a valuable resource for studying for exams.

Academic purists will be horrified. Hamlet's famous query, "To be or not to be, that is the question," becomes "2b? Nt2b? ???"
John Milton's epic poem "Paradise Lost" begins "devl kikd outa hevn coz jelus of jesus&strts war." ("The devil is kicked out of heaven because he is jealous of Jesus and starts a war.")
Some may dismiss the summaries as cheat notes for the attention-deficit generation, but John Sutherland, a University College London English professor who consulted on the project, said they could act as a useful memory aid.

"The educational opportunities it offers are immense," said Sutherland, who chaired the judging panel for this year's Booker Prize for fiction.

Sutherland said the compressed nature of text messages allowed them to "fillet out the important elements in a plot."
"Take for example the ending to Jane Eyre -- 'MadwyfSetsFyr2Haus.' (Mad wife sets fire to house.) Was ever a climax better compressed?"

But political commentator and author Oliver Kamm said the terse texts were "more than a travesty."

"What you lose with text messaging in literature is what makes literature what it is -- the imagery, the irony, the nuance," he told British Broadcasting Corp. radio.

"What I fear will happen with text versions of Shakespeare is that students will be encouraged not to read the books but to settle for something else, and people don't need excuses not to read books. They don't read enough as it is."

Books planned for the service include Charles Dickens' "Bleak House," whose tale of the interminable legal suit of Jarndyce and Jarndyce is reduced to a few snappy lines, and Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice," which describes hunky Mr. Darcy as "fit&loadd" (handsome and wealthy).

Dot mobile said it planned to launch the service in January, with Shakespeare's complete works available by April. The texts will be free to subscribers to the company's phone service.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Rang Sang Presents Readings of Shakespeare’s HAMLET in Mumbai, India

Selected scenes from three different Marathi translations/ adaptations of Shakespeare’s HAMLET will be read by professional actors at the Marathi Sahitya Sangh, close to Churney Road station (E) on 17th November 2005. Produced by Abhijat Rangbhoomi, Pune and directed by Aniruddha Khutwad, the readings will begin at 7:00 pm.

The first reading will be from Gopal Ganesh Agarkar’s 1883 text VIKAR VILASIT. The second one was written by Nana Jog in 1959 while Arun Naik wrote the third one in 1990. The cast for the readings includes Atul Kulkarni, Dhiresh Joshi, Suhas Kulkarni, Ashwini Giri and others.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Shakespeare in Hanbok
'Merchant of Venice' Transformed Into Korean Traditional Musical

band of hanbok-clad actors and actresses perform or, rather, play around in a crowded amphitheater. They sing, dance and banter, sometimes with expletives and at other times sharing jokes with the audience.
Puzzled but nevertheless entertained, the audience, seated just a step apart from the performance, gradually find themselves becoming part of the satirical play. By the end, the boundary between the performers and spectators has disappeared _ or, perhaps there was no such line from the beginning.

This is how the traditional performance ``Madang Nori,’’ meaning outdoor play, has gained wide popularity in its brief existence. Created three decades ago, Madang Nori combines traditional features from mask dance, pansori and old-time clown performances. The genre has succeeded in building a rapport with the audience and drawing energetic responses from the locals, a connection that has translated into both commercial and artistic success.

The Madang Nori specialist Michoo Theater Company has drawn around 200,000 viewers every year since it first introduced the genre in 1981. They have since visited theatrical scenes every winter with a new adaptation of Korean classics, including ``Hungbo-ga’’ ``Sugung-ga’’ and ``Hong Kil-tong.’’

This year, however, the troupe is staging an adaptation of Shakespeare’s ``The Merchant of Venice.’’ It will be the first time a Madang Nori piece is derived from a Western classic.

``It has always been recreations of Korean classics. This time, it’s from the West, but we have long been thinking of staging a foreign play in the traditional format,’’ the theater company head Son Jin-chaek said.

Titled ``Mapo Hwangbuja,’’ meaning ``Merchant Hwang in Mapo,’’ the script seems to gain motifs from the Shakespeare’s masterpiece, but also adopts dramatic factors from ``Romeo & Juliet’’ and Korea’s traditional tales of ``Hong Kil-tong’’ and ``Sim Chong.’’

In the story, the hero ``Hwang’’ (Yoon Moon-shik, whose name is almost synonymous with the theoretical genre) nurses grudge on Kim (Chong Tae-hwa), who declined to help in Hwang’s past tough days.

Decades later, Kim’s grown-up son Mu-suk (Lee Ki-bong) visits now-rich and greedy Hwang to borrow some money for his trade business with China. Revengeful Hwang offers the money on the same condition with Shylock’s, the young man’s flesh.

And, unlike the British original, it was Hwang’s daughter Man-gum (Kim Seong-nyeo) who comes up with the Solomon’s wisdom to save her lover and enlighten her avaricious father.

Son, who is also the director, said foreigners will not be able to follow the lines because of language, but watching is not only understanding each line. ``I have seen many expatriates enjoy our works with a little background knowledge about the narrative,’’ he said.

``Besides many other theatrical factors, they especially seem to like the active interactions between the performers and audience,’’ Son added.

The performance features the genre’s most representative performers _ Yoon, Kim Jong-yeop and Kim Seong-nyeo.

RSC in school Shakespeare drive

The Royal Shakespeare Company is to increase its efforts to boost the teaching of the Bard's work in schools.
The company will go into schools and encourage teachers to get children to study Shakespeare by performing his works rather than just reading them.

The project is part of a year-long festival in which every play, sonnet and long poem written by Shakespeare will be staged.

It covers both primary and secondary schools across the UK.

Active participation

The company already works with schools and runs conferences for primary and secondary school teachers on innovative ways of teaching Shakespeare.

"The Royal Shakespeare Company believes that Shakespeare should be taught standing up and saying and with children moving around rather than sitting down," a spokeswoman said.

The year-long festival, called The Complete Works, will be staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford- upon-Avon from April next year.

Dame Judi Dench and Sir Ian McKellen are among those taking part alongside theatre groups from around the world.

The festival will involve the expansion of the RSC's educational work.

During the event, schools from Warwickshire will present their own Complete Works Festival in The Dell outdoor theatre.

Key recommendations

The RSC will also be joining forces with five of the UK's major drama schools to produce Young People's Shakespeare productions.

Students will produce shortened productions of plays specifically designed for school audiences that will play in Stratford and tour schools across the UK.

The RSC will also launch its own inquiry to consider how Shakespeare is introduced to young people in a series of events and conferences and look at what improvements could be made.

At the end of the festival year it will make a series of recommendations to the government and key policy makers on the future teaching of Shakespeare.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Noh master to perform Shakespeare's Hamlet in English

"Hamlet in Noh Style," a unique play fusing traditional Japanese Noh drama with William Shakespeare's world, will be performed in English by Kuniyoshi Ueda, Professor of Nihon University Graduate School of Social and Cultural Studies, on Nov. 13 in Atami, Shizuoka Prefecture.

Ueda, who also serves as President of the International Society for Harmony and Combination of Cultures (ISHCC), was not as impressed by a Shakespeare play he saw when in college as he was by a Noh play that stirred his soul. Ueda believes the reason was that the Shakespeare play was translated into prose, even though the original was a poetic drama.

Ueda then began to perform Shakespeare's plays in English-language Noh chants, keeping the poetic lines of the originals alive. After coming back from Harvard University, where he studied as a Fulbright fellow from 1973 to 1975, he performed the play "Hamlet in Noh Style" for the first time in Japan in 1981. Since then, Ueda has performed the play at Tokyo's National Noh Theatre and in several different countries.

At the upcoming show at MOA Museum of Art in Atami, Ueda will perform with his students at Nihon University Graduate School and volunteer members of ISHCC.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Bringing Shakespeare to Mumbai

The stage is set once more at a venue as celebrated for its heady Irish coffee as its intimate setting for home-grown theatre. Prithvi turns 27 this November, and presents its 31st theatre festival to Mumbai. This time though, it is a highly acclaimed British company that will take centrestage, and Sanjna Kapoor is more than happy to let her baby be eclipsed by their genius.

After all, it's taken her all of seven years of wooing Simon McBurney, celebrated theatrical maverick for Complicite, to finally come to India (Mumbai and Bangalore) as part of an international tour, with the best known bard's least classifiable work — Shakespeare's Measure For Measure.

Readying the audience was an exercise that began last month, when Prithvi tied up with theatre persons and local colleges to demystify Shakespeare over a series of workshops. "College students are the next generation of audiences," explains Sameera Iyengar, creative director, Prithvi.

Friday, November 04, 2005


A leading authority on Shakespeare this week branded plans to exhume the Bard’s body and investigate conspiracy theories surrounding his death “ridiculous.”

Professor Stanley Wells, chair of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, believes suggestions that physician John Hall murdered his father-in-law in 1616 are slanderous.

Talking about the plans revealed by a top team of American pathologists to open Shakespeare’s grave at Holy Trinity Church, in Stratford, Prof Wells said: “The suggestion Shakespeare might have been murdered by his son-in-law is new to me and absolute nonsense.

“John Hall was a very highly respected physician. He was a churchgoing Protestant and pillar of the Church. The idea he may have murdered anybody is slanderous to him."

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Experts Plan to Exhume Shakespeare's Body

Controversial plans to dig up William Shakespeare's grave, to find out whether he was murdered by his son-in-law, have been revealed by American scientists.

The US experts, who are convinced the Bard's death was anything but natural, are hoping to be granted permission by his descendants to exhume his body.

Shakespeare died on his birthday on April 23, 1616, and was buried two days later at Stratford-upon-Avon's Holy Trinity Church.

His grave has remained untouched for more than 350 years, but now American pathologists want to disturb his resting place, in spite of warnings of a curse on Shakespeare's tomb if anyone tries to disturb his bones.