In the year of the 400th anniversary of the bard’s death, the actress Eliete Cigaarini directs 15 Scenes from Romeo and Juliet, a setting of his most famous play, in tribute to William Shakespeare.
The play 15 Scenes from Romeo and Juliet didn’t come about by mere chance: in partnership with the Teatro Garagem (Garage Theatre), the director Eliete Cigaarini created, in 2015, the workshop “Processes in Shakespeare – a study of the play Romeo and Juliet” – intended for professional actors. The main focus of the course was development of the play’s characters, followed by a contextualization study of the author and his time. As the scenes started to take shape, they were linked to one another so as to better tell one of the most beautiful stories ever told.
Once this process had run its course, the group of actors, supported by the diretor, decided to do a setting of Romeo and Juliet, and thus was born ShakeCena Companhia de Pesquisa Teatral (‘ShakeScene’ Theatre Research Company), whose objective is, as well as research into new languages of interpretation, to investigate new and old, Brazilian and international, dramatic and literary authors.
ShakeCena was formed based on the drive and desire of Eliete – an actress with a 30 year career in theatre, cinema and television – to found a theatre research company with a repertoire worthy of the world’s greatest playwrights. Her experience of over 15 years of teaching in the area of theatrical interpretation and TV also contributed to her ability to realize her vision: offer the public a play which would present a chance for deeper reflection, with original methods and languages of interpretation.
Simple: it has to do with the nickname given to Shakespeare by his critics, who refused to consider him a true playwright as he was not an academic but, according to them, a writer of simple pot-boilers.
Staging and assembly
The ample space of the Teatro Garagem was a contributing fator to the fact that the scenes took place in different locations, which in turn contributed to the play’s crossover style between street and traveling theatre – Teatro Garagem audiences literally follow the story around the different environments within the premises.
Rehearsals always took place in the mornings and, usually, on sunny days – which gave the Company the idea of producing two versions of the scenery: one for a younger crowd, maintaining the sunny weekend afternoon climate, which would emphasise the work’s lyricism, and another based on a nighttime, lunar concept, which heightens the sexuality of the two protagonists’ involvement.
Two versions of the same scenery with the same cast. Two concepts of interpretation in the different sessions (matinee and evening). A synesthetic offering to members of the public, gracing them with the full infinity of possibilities that their five senses can be induced to perceive.
The 15 scenes are driven by the actors, who take the audience from the street to a garden, amongst other environments, all within the premises of the Teatro Garagem. During the evening session the public will be bathed by moonlight and torchlight, whilst during the matinees, the audience will be able to enjoy the warmth of the afternoon sun and the beauty of the natural surroundings. The experience will be a chance to travel in time and reality to get a glimpse of Romeo’s adoration for Juliet.
The process of adaptation and translation
With the play having come about as a result of a workshop in which actors doubled up their roles (seeing as the original idea was to focus on character construction), ShakeCena Theatre Research Company came to the conclusion that an interesting way of attracting the public would be with their concept of two ‘Romeos’ and two ‘Juliets’. The development of this process enabled a rich language study and really shows that a story can be told inumerous ways.
Due to this unique rehearsal process, the translation and adaptation of the text happened on a scene by scene basis. The Company consulted many translations and original English texts, so as to choose the best words and vocabulary to use in any given dialogue, always taking into consideration to overall meaning of the play and the characters’ conflicts.
15 Scenes from Romeo and Juliet, a Free Adaptation of the Work of William Shakespeare
Translation, direction and realization – Eliete Cigaarini
Where: Teatro Garagem (www.teatrogaragem.com.br)
Rua Silveira Rodrigues, 331 – Vl. Romana
São Paulo, SP
Tel: +55 (11) 98682-3333
When: until 29 May, Saturdays, 4pm and 9pm, and Sundays, 4pm and 7pm
Capacity: 60 places
Duration: 75 minutes.
Age restrictions: Matinee session (4pm): no restriction | Evening session (7pm and 9pm) – over 12s