After a very close decision we have an exciting winner, who fulfils all the aspirations we had for this project—it is new and innovative cross artform work, combining theatre and visual art, which explores Shakespeare in our time and emphasises his enduring relevance.
/ ESFN Chair Philip Parr
Shakespeare’s famous tragedy about Romeo and Juliet and their tragic love affair takes place in Verona of the Renaissance. The families of the young lovers are in a violent conflict against each other. But the story could also have taken place between a boy and a girl from different sides of the civil war in Syria, or between two young men with different ethnic or religious background at a refugee center in Norway. It could have taken place between a third generation Pakistani immigrant boy and an ethnic Norwegian girl, or between two girls or two boys with a religious background forbidding same sex marriage in Norway today.
The tragic story about impossible love could also have taken place between a young boy and an older woman, or between a teacher and a student. Our focus on sexualized assaults based on power has to a large extent criminalized asymmetric relations and love.
Norwegian Christian Hestø and Polish Piotr Misztela, perform Shakespeare’s tragedy while constantly adding to the narrative real stories of impossible or criminalized love from our time. The tragedy of all these love stories is so evident and overwhelming that we can only relate to them with the theatrical means of humor. If not, we will probably lose our will to live and our will to love whoever we want to love.
Concept: Barbara Wilson & Rolf Alme
Text and direction: Rolf Alme
The performance project was the winner the first European Shakespeare Festivals Network world competition, organised in 2022, entitled ShakeSphere.
Presented in English with Polish translation.