Multilingual Shakespeare Mash-up:
It’s easy to mingle when you’re multilingual
The Swiss Stage Bards (University of Fribourg) perform extracts from
The Merchant of Venice, Love's Labours Lost, and Henry V
Directed by Prof. Elisabeth Dutton
Shakespeare's words form, inform, reform English: nonetheless, we like to see Shakespeare as international, or transnational, and to celebrate the fact that his works are translated and performed in all corners of the earth. Shakespeare’s plays, however, portray the ways language divides, and language excludes. The powerful conquer through language. The plays also revel in the fact that language is as diverse as people, and remind us that all relationships require an effort of understanding – to love another is to learn another’s language, even if each person will always speak with their own accent.
The Multilingual Shakespeare Project began with the aim of creating a Swiss Shakespeare, exploiting the rich linguistic resources and esoteric local traditions of a tiny nation at the heart of Europe. In Switzerland minority languages may be perceived as under threat, but may also mark membership of a club and define and exclude the outsider. In the UK, the idea that a single national language can be a means of social inclusion is hotly debated. The Swiss Stage Bards will build their own Tower of Babel using live performance and multimedia scenes adapted or translated from The Merchant of Venice, Love’s Labour’s Lost, and Henry V: their presentation will explore language in Shakespeare’s plays as a means of connection or division, communication or misunderstanding, accommodation or rejection.
There will be cheese and chocolate, and cows, but no cuckoo clocks. You will be amazed at your own capacity to follow what is going on….
Performers: The Swiss Stage Bards
Director: Professor Elisabeth Dutton, University of Fribourg, Switzerland