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The African Tales by Shakespeare

A spectacle by Krzysztof Warlikowski in the frame of Prospero project


A spectacle directed by Krzysztof Warlikowski, based on Shakespeare’s works: “Othello”, “The Merchant of Venice”, “King Lear” and the novel of J.M. Coetzee "Summertime" featuring actors from the Nowy Theatre.

Prospero is the international project of theatres in Liege, Modena, Luxembourg, Rennes, Berlin, Lisbon and Tampere which in this year has invited Krzysztof Warlikowski. The earlier productions were directed by Thomas Ostermeier and Alvis Hermanis.

The Prospero Project aims at creating significant cultural events and their promotion across entire Europe which results in construction of the common European culture platform disregarding the national borders. Frim the political and social point of view it draws attention to culture and art as factors encouraging creativity, exchange and cohesion between countries while giving an impulse to social and economic development.

The production features all regular co-operators of Krzysztof Warlikowski: Małgorzata Szczęśniak – costumes and stage design, Paweł Mykietyn – music, Piotr Gruszczyński – dramaturgy, Felice Ross – light design.

Cast: Stanisława Celińska, Ewa Dałkowska, Małgorzata Hajewska-Krzysztofik, Maja Ostaszewska, Magdalena Popławska, Adam Ferency, Wojciech Kalarus, Marek Kalita, Zygmunt Malanowicz, Piotr Polak, Jacek Poniedziałek.

How to stem bleeding of gods? Try it and you are bound to fail. Twilight of gods has touched all areas, even those secular, interpersonal described by Shakespeare. So we bleed together with gods and our blood falls upon us as a black rain which neither brings relief nor refreshment. Exactly the opposite, in the scorching African sun which beats down the characters of J.M. Coetzee’s novel blood dries up with scabs sticking to clean clothes which we wear to hide our decomposition progressing day by day.

Lear, Shylock and Othello – three Shakespeare’s heroes deprived of safe narration, stand before us with genuine force of their demise. A bleeding god is a man who desperately seeks love. A man who suffers miseries of an old man, Jew and Black - surrounded by women entangled with his weakness. Sooner or later everyone is to experience condition of Lear, Othello or Shylock by becoming an animal banned from its herd. Shakespeare depicted these states through a tragic prism of history’s titans acting in circumstances of tale and myth. Coetzee, knowing the apartheid reality, describes his characters only through categories of existence. He does not create soaring plots but instead designs intimate and unbearable psychotic worlds through which his own broken pride is filtered.

“African Tales by Shakespeare“ is a new show by Krzysztof Warlikowski made with Nowy Theatre’s team and artists who have accompanied him for years. Director who has already staged ten Shakespeare dramas now creates his own fascinating vision of man extracted from the space of border experiences.

Show is made as co-production with Prospero group associating 6 Europan Theatres: Théâtre de la Place (Liege – Belgium), Théâtre National de Bretagne (Rennes – France), Emilia Romagna Teatro Fondazione (Modena – Italy), Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz (Berlin – Germany), Fundação Centro Cultural de Belém (Lisbon – Portugal), Tutkivan Teatterityön Keskus (Tampere – Finland), Grand Théâtre de la Ville de Luxembourg from Luxembourg as well as Paris Théâtre National de Chaillot.

  • Directed by: Krzysztof Warlikowski
  • Premiere: 5 October 2011 Liege, Belgium
  • Polish premiere: 2 December 2011 Warsaw

Financed by: