Shakespeare and Facebook aren’t exactly two things one would put together. But it’s thanks to the social networking site that World Shakespeare Festival director Deborah Show met Brazilian theatre company Companhia Bufomecânica – and commissioned a stunning reworking of The Bard’s history play, Richard III, for the festival.
“In 2009 she saw a video I put on Facebook of one of our previous productions and got in touch,” says Renato Rocha from Companhia Bufomecânica. “Since then we’ve worked together a number of times and we were really excited to be able to take part in the World Shakespeare Festival.”
The production, Two Roses For Richard III, brings together theatre, music, circus, aerial skills and striking imagery to shake the audience out of its preconceptions about what it’s expecting to see, says Rocha.
“People sometimes can come to a Shakespeare play expecting a certain style of performance, but what we like to do is really shake that up and present things in a different way. It challenges the audience to think differently about the play,” he explains.
It’s all a perfect fit for Shakespeare’s plays, which remain timeless and continue to speak to people centuries since they were first written.
“If you think about Shakespeare, he is alive now because he can still speak to people in the present. He looked at his time like an artist and really understood people. We haven’t changed much since then,” laughs Rocha.
As well as Two Roses, Rocha is working with teenagers on a new production, The Dark Side of Love – a dreamlike journey into the depths of what we do for love, inspired by Shakespeare’s tragedies.
“Many of the teenagers can relate to chatting on Facebook or Twitter about love issues, so we use the tragedies as a perfect example of how themes such as love still speak to people throughout the ages – especially to teenagers, who may have previously considered The Bard to be boring,” Rocha says.
We’re back again to Shakespeare and social network websites – The Bard truly can span the ages.
Two Roses For Richard III
The Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Road, NW1 8EH
Nearest tube: Chalk Farm