Richard and Romeo get global makeovers at RSC

By IH 23/04 Updated: 09/05 12:18

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Buy photos » Romeo and Juliet in Baghdad - Ahmed Salah Moneka (Romeo), Sarwa Rasool (Juliet). (s)

RICHARD III gets the South American treatment while Romeo and Juliet gets a Middle Eastern makeover in Stratford as part of the World Shakespeare Festival.

Brazilian company Companhia Bufomecânica present Two Roses For Richard III, their own unique re-imagining of Shakespeare's villainous hunchbacked king, featuring theatre, music, striking imagery and aerial skills,

at the Courtyard Theatre from May 7 to 9.

The production reunites two of Brazil's leading directors, Cláudio Baltar who has worked with circus companies Intrepida and Archaos and Fábio Ferreira, known for his text-based theatre and multimedia work.

Two Roses for Richard III, performed in Portuguese with English subtitles, was specially commissioned by the RSC.

Baltar and Ferreira said: "We are very happy to be invited by the RSC to represent contemporary theatre from Brazil in the World Shakespeare Festival - for three good reasons.

"First, because this is a big challenge and we are moved by challenges; second because it’s an honour to bring our vision of these true and timeless masterpieces to the UK, for British people and third because these classic texts inspire us to make our best work.

"Companhia Bufomecânica began to develop its own theatrical universe in 2009-2010; a universe that combines scenic language usually associated with performance art and urban interventions.

"Now, we’re turning our attention to Shakespeare - who mesmerizes us all with his virtuosity - and to the bloody battlefields that the streets of our mega cities have become.

"Companhia Bufomecânica’s Richard III looks out from Rio de Janeiro; a glamorous South American politician, flashing his corrupt acts in the tropical sun."

The Iraqi Theatre Company's festival offering is Romeo and Juliet in Baghdad, at the Swan Theatre until May 5.

Shakespeare’s great love story - set against a backdrop of conflict between families, communities and generations - finds fresh purchase in the soil of contemporary Iraq, a country where sectarian strife between Sunni and Shia, ignited and fuelled from outside, has left the population exhausted by a cycle of violence and revenge.

Also specially commissioned by the RSC, the production infused with Iraq’s rich traditions of poetry, music and ritual, is adapted and directed by Monadhil Daood, and will be performed in Arabic with English subtitles

Deborah Shaw, World Shakespeare Festival director, said: "The truth is the same whether in Baghdad or London, and the best theatre speaks directly from one heart to another."

For tickets and further details visit www.worldshakespearefestival.org.uk or call the box office on 0844 800 1110.

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