If you love Shakespeare, watch this

Takudzwa Chihambakwe
It was refreshing to see the more experienced actors coming through to back up the novices in a subtle manner, such that those in the audience not too familiar with Shakespeare thought it was all part of the act.The great mix of age, ranging from 11 to 85, made it a marvel to watch.

IT was a Shakespeare experience with a difference at Reps Theatre in Harare recently as award-winning director Zain Lucas merged 12 plays from the legendary playwright into one production titled “Pieces of Shakespeare”.

“I decided to merge excerpts from Shakespeare’s best-known and loved plays into one instead of the traditional reproduction of a single play because I knew how exhausting and overwhelming it would be for the cast based on the experiences I have had as an actor,” said Lucas.

“The other reason why I opted to present the production in this manner was to expose the cast, which comprised of a number of new actors to the different elements of Shakespeare’s works. At times when you are just working on one play there isn’t much room to explore the richness of the skills that Shakespeare had — so by merging the plays, the cast got to appreciate his classical, serious and hilarious side,” added Zain.

Some of the plays that were featured in the production alongside four sonnets were “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, “Macbeth”, “Hamlet”, “Julius Caeser”, “Romeo and Juliet” and “Twelfth Night”.

Zane said this was his way of marking 400 years since Shakespeare’s death.

“His work has also been translated into most of the worlds’ languages, something that you seldom find for other leading playwrights. It was quite a daunting task to come up with the production in just four weeks with the 31 member cast. But, I am glad the team rose to the occasion and delivered. Am sure Shakespeare was smiling as he watched us perform,” he said.

Though the cast was a bit anxious at the start, with a number mumbling through lines and some totally going blank on set, the totality of the production was quite good.

It was refreshing to see the more experienced actors coming through to back up the novices in a subtle manner, such that those in the audience not too familiar with Shakespeare thought it was all part of the act.

The great mix of age, ranging from 11 to 85, made it a marvel to watch.

The most well reproduced excerpt was the hilarious bit from “Much Ado About Nothing”. The cast were really engrossed by their characters and had a very solid connection with the audience.

Another excerpt that came out well was “The Merchant of Venice”, which featured Thulani Nzonzo playing Launcelot, the servant who being tempted by the devil and battling with his conscience.

The audience really loved the young man’s wit and stage presence and his mixture of English and Shona made the scene really unique.

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