Academic journal article Multicultural Shakespeare

Theatre Reviews

Academic journal article Multicultural Shakespeare

Theatre Reviews

Article excerpt

Multicultural Shakespeare: Translation, Appropriation and Performance vol. 12 (27), 2015; DOI: 10.1515/mstap-2015-0012

Romeo and Juliet for Two. Dir. Kostas Gakis, Athina Moustaka, Konstantinos Bibis. 104 Theatre, Athens, Greece.

Reviewed by Xenia Georgopoulou

A Breathtaking Romeo and Juliet for Two

In December 2012 Romeo and Juliet for Two was first presented for three nights during the 3rd Low Budget Festival, held at the Michael Cacoyannis Foundation in Athens. For those who didnt have the chance to watch it on that occasion, the production reopened in November 2013 on the central stage of 104, in the centre of Athens.1

Romeo and Juliet for Two stemmed from Kostas Gakiss idea of Romeo and Juliet as two ghosts who appear to us today to tell their story. The final outcome, however, was a work for three: both the final script (which partly summarizes Shakespeares text and partly sticks to it using selected passages from Dionysis Kapsaliss translation) and the staging were arranged by Gakis himself, as well as Athina Moustaka and Konstantinos Bibis, who also took on the parts of Juliet and Romeo, respectively.

The show was characterized by its creators as an acting puzzle for two actors who undertake to face the famous Shakespearean text playing all of the plays parts in a crazy game of cross-dressing and transformations.2 This crazy game took place on a bare black stage, which, along with the two actors plain black outfit, constituted the canvas for their transformations, made possible by Elli Lidorikiotis props. Within seconds, Moustaka interchanged the parts of Mercutio and Benvolio by changing hats, and elsewhere Bibis played almost simultaneously the Nurse and Romeo. This frantic alternation of roles was also

University of Athens, Greece.

1 The play also opened in Cyprus in October 2013, in a production of THOC, staged by the same team. In the summer of 2014 the Greek production was invited to participate in the international Shakespeare festival in Serbia, organized by Nikita Milivojevi.

2 See the teams comments on their production under the title Romeo and Juliet like two shooting stars on protagon.gr (16 December 2013): http://www.protagon.gr/?i=protagon.el. article&id=30065# item_comments.

Theatre Reviews

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Theatre Reviews

commented onstage, when Bibis asked for a therapist among the audience, apparently lost in his Nurse-and-Romeo interchange. Moustaka even played three parts at a time (Juliet, Friar Lawrence and Paris), using makeup (her face painted in two halves corresponding to the first two roles), her bare hands (to form Pariss glasses) and a video camera operated by Bibis, which projected the actresss face (partial or whole) on a screen at the back of the stage. The scene where Juliets body is discovered in her bedroom was presented as a puppet show, with Bibis playing all the roles of the scene from behind Moustakas standing body, using their respective props. Roles also changed hands, as in the case of Tybalt, played by both actors in the same scene.

These frenetic changes of roles were enabled not only by hats, masks or puppets, but also by the minimal but ingenious pieces of set designed by Lidorikioti. In a white piece of cloth five square holes represented the windows of Capulets house, which allowed the two actors to play various parts, ranging from the cooks to the masters of the house. Lidorikioti provided shrewd scenic solutions throughout the show. A large tube of white cloth represented Juliets bed on the two lovers wedding night, which enabled the two actors to reenact the consummation scene standing on their feet. The windows overlooking the theatres yard were also used. When the windows were closed, the backlit cartons that covered them, cut in a way that brought to mind shadow theatre house figures, depicted the city of Verona; when the windows were opened, they revealed a tree growing in the theatres yard, which represented exiled Romeos whereabouts in Mantua. …

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