Seeing Shakespeare Through Each Others’ Eyes:
Multicultural Shakespeare on screen.
A programme of films and conversations
Today, both within Britain and globally, directors and actors of African and Asian descent are bringing Shakespeare to new audiences – and to dazzling and often controversial life.
From London to Harlem, Manchester to Kashmir, communities with apparently little in common are recognising their own situations, hopes and dilemmas in Shakespeare’s characters and stories.
‘Shakespeare Through Each Others’ Eyes’ is a unique opportunity to see how, on stage and screen, radically different social experiences and artistic traditions are shedding new light on the masterpieces at the very heart of ‘British’ culture.
Wednesday April 22: Prologue:
Cheek by Jowl's Russian Measure for Measure (2014/15)
A corrupt government policing a chaotic city's convents, prisons and brothels...
"A series of swiftly changing spectacular scenes" (Teatral) explodes as " a real thriller, piercing the heart of the entire audience" (Mir 24).
Thursday April 23: Hamlet (UK, 2014/15)
In this stripped-back, fast-paced and critically- acclaimed version, Maxine Peake creates a ‘delicately ferocious’ (Guardian), ‘ fabulous’ (The Times) Hamlet.
A box-office triumph at Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre, Sarah Frankcom’s production challenges all of our casting conventions, both of ethnicity and gender. The Shakespeare of tomorrow, today?
Introduction: The history of the female Hamlet
Saturday April 25: Shakespeare on Screen Study Day:
From Kashmir to Harlem
Tony Howard (Multicultural Shakespeare Project, Warwick University) discusses and introduces two radically different new film adaptations, where Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet collide with the prejudices and tensions of our world.
Haider (India, 2014):
Set in 1990s Kashmir against a background of insurgency and military repression. At the height of the conflict, a doctor is detained and ‘disappears’. His wife remarries. And his student son Haider returns, seeking the truth….
Cinematically powerful and politically daring, Haider is the triumphant climax to a trilogy of Shakespeare adaptations by Vishal Bhardwaj, the director of Maqbool (Macbeth) and Omkara (Othello).
Romeo and Juliet in Harlem (USA, 2014): Preview screening:
Filmed in the streets, in the park, on the subway – Aleta Chappelle relocates the world’s greatest love story to the the world’s most vibrant city and the African American community. With Jasmine Carmichael (Juliet), Hernando Caicedo (Romeo) and the brilliant Harry Lennix (Capulet) this is, as the director says, a ‘ homage to Harlem.’
Sunday April 26: Romeo and Juliet (USA, 2013/14)
Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad play the tragic lovers whose warring families, ‘both alike in dignity’, are divided by race.
Tuesday April 28: Julius Caesar (UK, 2012)
Gregory Doran’s acclaimed RSC production features a cast of Britain’s most distinguished black actors, led by Paterson Joseph as Brutus. Shot partly in the theatre, partly on location, this Julius Caesar traces the fall of a modern African leader, the struggle for democracy, and a descent into war. ’A superb ensemble....a resounding triumph’ (Independent on Sunday).
Wednesday April 29. 5.00.
Discussion: Who Owns Shakespeare?
Do we need a multicultural Shakespeare? What obstacles do performers from minority communities face today: why do talented black artists need to find their way to Hollywood? And what do the screenings in this season - from Britain, America and India - tell us about Shakespeare’s relevance or redundancy to our twenty-first-century world….. or should that be ‘worlds’?
followed by: 7.30. SPECIAL DIGITAL SCREENING:
Tara Arts’ Macbeth (UK,2015)
Three outrageous drag-queens (hijras in modern India and Pakistan) cook up an explosive brew of treachery, ambition and passion, setting an Asian family off on a path of bloody self-destruction. Tara Arts brings Indian movement and music to Shakespeare’s text, offering a powerful contemporary take on his darkest play.
Macbeth: Robert Mountford (Much Ado, RSC; Silent Witness). Lady Macbeth: Shaheen Khan (Rafta Rafta, NT; Bend it Like Beckham). Directed by Jatinder Verma, Design by Claudia Mayer.
Thursday April 30: H4 (USA, 2013).Ayanna Thompson (academic and screenwriter): ‘This film is from the perspective of black people, acted primarily by black people, and it’s from the black point of view.’ H4 translates Shakespeare's Henry IV to contemporary Los Angeles, exploring political struggles in the community. In a futile attempt to cement his family’s power, a father kills a popular black leader. Starring Harry Lennix and Amad Jackson (Hal). Amad Jackson will attend.