Shakespeare Jerusalem – an audacious young theatre company based in Israel’s capital dares to take on the Bard, performing Shakespeare in English to Hebrew speaking audiences. Shakespeare’s classic stature makes him an imposing figure to contend with, as almost everything has already been done with the plays. The burden of stage history tends to send young directors into a frenzy of props, effects and wild interpretations. Director Shannon Kisch makes her own radical statement by presenting an evening of Shakespearean monologues for a fun-filled evening that audiences can enjoy.
“Fooling with Shakespeare,” which will be performed at The Lab in Jerusalem on March 12, explores the role of the fool in Shakespeare, combining comedy with erudition. It should be no surprise to learn that the multi-faceted Shakespearean texts contain more than one kind of fool, and Kisch weaves an entertaining medley of monologues that show them off in style. Herzl Tobey is the very essence of comedy, his baccarat-clear British diction the perfect foil to the rubbery elasticity of his expressive features. He renders each fool unique with minimal change of costume, transforming himself from within and becoming each new character in turn. Tobey is a captivating presence onstage, eliciting laughter, charming with song, and embodying the power of the fool to reveal the follies of others.
Kisch is the demure straight woman in this delightful comedy duo, making use of this role to connect the audience to the monologues. The transitions provide not only lively introductions to the text, but insights and amusing anecdotes. The Elizabethan period is brought to life in English and Hebrew versions: all the monologues are performed in English, but the transitional texts are presented in both languages.
If you love Shakespeare and yearn to hear a wonderful performance of monologues from favorite plays – As You Like It, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Twelfth Night, Macbeth and more – you will love Shakespeare Jerusalem. If you have never really connected with Shakespeare, by the end of the evening Shakespeare Jerusalem will have you not only laughing, but in love.
The Lab, 28 Derech Hevron, Jerusalem 02-6292000