A MULTILINGUAL PRODUCTION OF SHAKESPEARE’S HAMLET
The text will be partly translated into fusha (formal Arabic), partly into amieh (Lebanese Arabic), partly into French, and parts will remain in the original English.
Developing on their international Shakespeare collaborations, Rachel Valentine Smith, Co-Artistic Director of The Faction will be directing Sahar Assaf in the title role with a gender balanced ensemble.
To date research workshops have taken place in Beirut with artists from Armenia, Lebanon, UK, South Africa and the United States.
THE PRODUCTION WILL BE CREATED WITH AN INTERNATIONAL ENSEMBLE.
Working with Global artists, the ensemble will create a contemporary production for our 21st century audiences.
Why a multilingual Hamlet and why now ?
How far can we push language to effect change, to become more connected, to understand each other? Language is fundamental to our individual and cultural identity, the words we choose and the ways to express ourselves are all part of our human experience. We live in a world that is evolving a common language through technology, and our cities are increasingly enriched by the music of languages from across the globe. You only need to look at this year’s Oscar nominations to see that language is not a barrier but a mode of expression.
Shakespeare's work has been performed in every country on the planet. Hamlet has been translated into 75 different languages. Our early workshop discoveries demonstrated how language can provoke and craft a moment emotionally, politically and contextually. This approach exploits Shakespeare’s universality.
Hamlet is a play set in a landscape of grief and is the ultimate experience of personal meets political. This production uses language as the primary tool to excavate the text for its full emotional potential.
This production dismantles stereotypes and geographical barriers whilst celebrating cultural exchange. At a time when Art has never been more important to heal fractures in our global community, having a female Arabic Hamlet in a multilingual production will have significant resonance.
Rachel and Sahar met at the Lincoln Center Directors Lab in New York. In 2015 Rachel directed Sahar in the UK premiere of AN ARAB WOMAN SPEAKS by Franca Rame and Dario Fo.
In 2016, The Faction was invited by the Theater Initiative AUB with the support of the British Council to collaborate on a production of Shakespeare’s KING LEAR at Al-Madina Theater in Beirut, Lebanon. This production was co-directed by Sahar Assaf and Rachel Valentine Smith. This is was the first production of Shakespeare to be performed in Lebanon in the colloquial language. More info on KING LEAR can be found here.
In 2018 Sahar co founded and Rachel assisted the Director’s Lab Mediterranean, endorsed by the Lincoln Center, New York.
'THIS GOES BEYOND A THEATRE PERFORMANCE...AN EXPERIENCE
THAT MUST BE REPEATED SOON'
AL-AKHBAR NEWSPAPER ON KING LEAR
'ASSAF AND VALENTINE SMITH SUCCEED IN WEAVING THE PRODUCTION AND MANAGING ITS MOVEMENTS WITH THE UTMOST FINESSE AND MASTERY OF SKILL WHICH ALLOWED THEM TO PRESENT THIS SPECTACULAR LEBANESE MODERN PERFORMANCE'