Shakespeare to ‘come alive’ in Harare

THE British Council celebrates 75 years of cultural relations this year and to celebrate this event in Zimbabwe it will “bring alive” Britain’s international icon, William Shakespeare. William Shakespeare, Britain’s greatest playwright, is regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s preeminent dramatist.

The festivities of this celebration include an ambitious and exciting national project: 2b or not 2b, the Shakespeare Jamboree developed in collaboration with Harare’s Pumpkin Pie Productions. It is an exuberant expression of Shakespeare’s genius.

The production showcases fourteen excerpts from six of Shakespeare’s best known plays: Macbeth, Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Julius Caesar, Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet. Each excerpt is performed by a different school, with participants coming from all over Zimbabwe.

It is roughly four hundred years since Shakespeare lived and breathed life into his characters in Elizabethan England and yet they still manage to capture the imaginations and inspiration of everyone, including Zimbabwean students.

After an audition process each of the selected schools have been assigned a particular excerpt that suits their talents and students and teachers have together created unique interpretations of the excerpts: traditional African witches emerging from the dusty savannah, Romeo and Juliet getting down to the best music from MTV fit snuggly into a celebration that also has some more traditional performances in doublet and hose.

The rich and vibrant tones of an African narrator informs us these stories were originally told by a great African story teller, Shaka Speare, and this oral tradition has been passed on by generations of African people.

2b or not 2b runs for two performances in the grounds of the National Ballet, behind Reps Theatre, one at 3:30pm and the other at 7pm tomorrow night.

The stage and auditorium have been constructed especially for the show to mirror Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre on the south bank of London’s Thames River. It promises to be a unique experience that brings together a total cast of over 100 performers from all over Zimbabwe, and is not to be missed.

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