London’s Globe theater said it will host all of Shakespeare’s 37 plays performed in 37 languages by 37 companies in a stage festival with acting troupes from Afghanistan and newly independent South Sudan.
“Globe to Globe” will run for six weeks, starting from its launch on April 23 next year. It is part of the London 2012 Festival, itself the climax of the Cultural Olympiad, a four-year celebration of arts and culture in Britain leading up to the summer Olympics in the capital city next year.
Globe to Globe kicks off with an adaptation of Shakespeare’s poem “Venus and Adonis” performed in Zulu, Xhosa, Sotho, Tswana, Afrikaans and South African English.
The plays proper get under way on April 23 with “Troilus and Cressida” staged in Maori and featuring the traditional “haka” dance.
“The Merry Wives of Windsor” is performed in Swahili, “Richard III” in Mandarin, “Richard II” in Palestinian Arabic and “Othello” in hip-hop.
The three Henry VI plays about England’s civil war are presented as an “epic and sweeping Balkan trilogy,” organizers said on Tuesday, featuring national theatres from Serbia, Albania and Macedonia.
From Afghanistan, and leaving Kabul for the first time, is theater company Roy-e-Sabs with “The Comedy of Errors,” while a specially formed troupe from the world’s newest country, South Sudan, will perform “Cymbeline.”
Belarus Free Theater, dubbed by the Globe as “the world’s bravest theater company,” stages “King Lear,” while Deafinitely Theater from London will translate the pun-riddled text of “Love’s Labor’s Lost” into British sign language.
Fittingly for a theater project designed to coincide with the Olympics, the Globe is offering what it calls the “Yard Olympian,” allowing the buyer to see all 37 plays and one poem for 100 pounds ($155).