World Shakespeare Festival brings ‘Forests’ to Old Rep
Using original verse from Shakespeare’s woodland and heath scenes, Forests opens at The Old Rep Theatre, Birmingham on August 31st.
Forests forms part of Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s autumn and winter 2012 off-site season and takes place in the very theatre where it’s founder Sir Barry Jackson produced the very first modern-dress Shakespeare production more than 80 years ago.
This radical interpretation of Shakespeare brings together the forest scenes from many of his plays. From As You Like It’s forest of Arden through to the moving trees of Macbeth’s Birnam Wood and ending in the bare wilderness of King Lear’s cliffs of Dover this vivid theatrical journey will take audiences from the calmness of paradise to the uncertainties of purgatory and finally into the flames of hell.
Calixto Bieito’s passionate and radical interpretations of classics have stimulated controversy and earned him critical acclaim. Forests marks the Catalan director’s return to the UK since 2004.
His previous UK theatre productions include Hamlet and Celestina both for Edinburgh Festival and Birmingham Repertory Theatre, and Macbeth at the Barbican, whilst his opera productions have included Un Ballo in Maschera and Don Giovanni for English National Opera and Die Fledermaus for Welsh National Opera.
Bieito says of the play: “The forest has always played a dramatic role in English literature, from Chaucer to Wordsworth, and no more so than in Shakespeare’s work. Many of Shakespeare’s literary references to nature focus on the forest’s life giving and protective qualities, but as in fairytales and folklore, Shakespeare also uses the forest in his plays to represents man’s greatest fears of danger, death, destruction and evil. It is Shakespeare’s rich material that inspires Forests.”
fForests features as international cast led by Catalan actors Josep Maria Pou, Roser Cami, Maika Makovski and English actors Hayley Carmichael, George Costigan, Christopher Simpson and Katy Stephens.Joining Calixto on the creative team are set designer Rebecca Ringst, costume designer Ingo Krügler (both from Berlin), dramaturg Marc Rosich, composer Maika Makovski (both from Barcelona), lighting designer Tim Mitchell and sound designer Dan Hoole (both from the UK).
Forests is a co-production between Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Barcelona Internacional Teatre in association with the Royal Shakespeare Company. When the play ends its run in Birmingham it will tour internationally with shows at the Barbican, London from 6 to 10 November.
Forests, a new Shakespearean odyssey imagined by one of Europe’s most prominent theatre directors, Calixto Bieito, is on at The Old Rep Theatre, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY on Friday 31 August to Saturday 15 September 2012. Tickets: £8 to £28, Box Office: 0121 236 4455 Online booking: www.birmingham-rep.co.uk