The Slovenia Times

Shakespeare remembered


The festival, marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death with a series of events stretching well into autumn, will open with an exhibition on all Slovenian productions of Hamlet this evening.

The festival aims to revive Shakespeare's characters through various artistic genres and give a preview of how his plays have been staged in Slovenia throughout history.

"Shakespeare is very much alive in the spiritual sense, as we are able to discover ourselves through his characters, such as the bloodthirsty Macbeth and his ambitious wife, the mad Lear, and the confused Hamlet," Cankarjev dom director Uršula Cetinski has said as she presented the festival.

His works, according to her, became the basis for various new art projects, like a production of Verdi's Othello, which will be played at the Ljubljana Opera House between 21 January and 3 February.

The production, directed by Manfred Schweigkofler, will be followed by a series of lectures on the importance of Shakespeare's tragedies, focusing on the leading motive in the play - jealousy.

Shakespeare's famous tragedy Hamlet will take a special place during the festival. Tonight's exhibition will feature all Hamlet productions in Slovenia through the decades.

The exhibition is a collaboration between Cankarjev dom and the Slovenian Theatre Institute showcasing various items from 23 Slovenian versions of Hamlet, including set design and costume sketches and extracts from reviews.

Hamlet was first played in the Slovenian language in 1899, 120 years after it was first staged in Ljubljana in German. The play has seen six translations into Slovenian, the latest coming out in 2012.

For the first time the main protagonist will also be depicted in a comic book by author Andrej Potrč, according to exhibition curator Mojca Jan Zoran.

Shakespeare's powerful influence will also be displayed in a series of eight films.

Simon Popek, the director of Cankarj dom film programme, said he wanted the films to show how different directors tackled depicting the playwright's chefs-d'oeuvre on the silver screen through the decades.

The films will span from Laurence Olivier's Henry V (1994) to the most recent adaptation of Macbeth (2015) by Justin Kurzel.

The festival will also feature several discussions on Shakespeare's influence today with special guest actors Julian Rhind Tutt, Danny Sapani, and Jonathan Slinger.

Aside from his plays, the festival will also pay tribute to Shakespeare's poetry with recitals by poet Marjan Strojan and musical adaptations of the playwright's sonnets by the group Bossa de novo.

In May, Slovenian readers will get a translation of Shakespeare's biography Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare.


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