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Taking The Bard Into The Woods

Shakespeare in the Courtyard is an open air event with a twist, set in the medieval backdrop of Basel’s Old Town.

By Lya Pfäffli

This year marks Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary and to celebrate, Shakespeare in the Courtyard is presenting a ‘teaser taster trio’ of arguably the Bard’s most famous tragedies: Dogg’s Hamlet, Cahoot’s Macbeth by Tom Stoppard and Benvollo & Tybalt are Dead (Romeo and Juliet), abridged by Patrick Deslarzes.  This performance (in English) takes place from 18 August to 3 September and returns once again to the intimate courtyard setting of «Schönes Haus», a beautifully preserved building dating from 1271 in Basel’s Alt Stadt and now housing the English Seminar of the University of Basel.

courtyard
© All pictures copyright 2016 Upstart Entertainment

This abridged version of Shakespeare’s greatest masterpieces has the potential for some powerful moments on stage while ‘gender-bending the norm’ and straying ‘into the woods just to see what might happen.’ The play is directed by the Wyrd Sisters (Nicolaia Marston, Bianca Mueller, Patrick Deslarzes), a London-based theatre company who produce both classics and new works ‘with a twist’.  The production is also showcasing some of Basel’s best-known and most heralded English actors: Zuzana & David Cox, Flavio De Rosa, Norman Koeth, Adriano Leanza, Patrick Deslarzes, Jorian Pawlowsky, Nicolaia Marston and Andrew Fernandes.

Viewers should be prepared for a myriad of Shakespeare’s most recurring themes; love and hate, power and ambition, jealousy and family rivalries, bloodshed and ultimately death. Hamlet, the tragic story of a son avenging his father’s murder isn’t dissimilar to Macbeth, the story of one man’s quest for revenge against those who wronged him.  Both men are obsessed with death and both are destined to die as tragic heroes. Romeo and Juliet, meanwhile, are two star-crossed lovers whose love is forever tainted by their families’ bitter rivalries and ancient feuds.  How these three plays will weave in and out of one another is yet to be seen.  An emotional and fast-paced couple of hours are almost certainly guaranteed.

Whether a seasoned Shakespeare connoisseur or a theatre amateur looking for a digestible introduction to some of his greatest plays, this event looks set to be a hit with both fans and novices alike. With the proceeds of this production, Upstart Entertainment are also raising funds for one of their casts in London to help her get her MA in acting.

Shakespeare in the Courtyard
Schönes Haus, Nadelberg 6
18, 21, 24, 25, 28 August & 1, 2 and 3 September

All performances begin at 8:30pm
Box office and Bar open at 7:30pm
tickets at www.ticketino.com

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