Reviewed by Flossie Waite
A co-production of Watch This Space (National Theatre of London) and Laitrum Teatre
Reviewed at Gala Theatre, Durham as part of TakeOff Festival
For ages 7+
Laitrum Teatre just made an ass out of me. Luckily, only a couple of people saw. The Catalonian company’s interactive installation is intimate, involving just three people at a time: two are cast as the viewers, and one as performer. All three wear headphones, but only those watching have any idea what’s going on – the audience hear a narration of a Shakespeare play, but the voice in my ears only told me which props to puppeteer, not why. I obligingly manoeuvred peanuts, artificial flowers and a coke bottle round the miniature stage, while the audience ate complimentary popcorn. It was only afterwards that I found out I had just performed an 8-minute version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and that I had played the part of Bottom.
Micro-Shakespeare doesn’t just tackle the comedies – there are five box-theatres to choose from, covering Shakespeare’s most popular plays: Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Being condensed from a few hours to a few minutes, and thrown into this new format, loosens up the plays’ relationship to the original texts, our own notions about Shakespearean performance, and the audience-performer dynamic. But more than any of that, it’s just very, very fun. To be honest, if the bard was still about, I reckon he’d quite like Macbeth performed with cutlery.
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