The Shakespearean festival in Gdansk is an international event that presents the best Shakespearean productions from all around the world. The festival featured over 230 theatre companies directed by renowned European theatre directors, such as Luk Perceval, László Bocsárdi, Elizabeth LeCompte, Robert Sturua, Silviu Purcarete, Edward Hall, Giuseppe Dipasqual, and others.
The 26th International Gdansk Shakespeare Festival featured productions from Italy, Denmark, California, the Czech Republic, Norway, Ukraine, and Poland. The motto of this year’s edition was a reference to three rather different international productions of “The Tempest” that were guest performances at the festival, as well as the political, pandemic, climatic and social tempest raging all around the world now. It also refers to the book “Between the Heaven and the Stage” by Professor Jerzy Limon published in 2002.
Prospero’s Book, the award of the Polish Shakespeare Association, went to the Radost Theatre in Brno for their Hamlet on the Road directed by Joanna Zdrada. The award represented the most interesting adaptation of William Shakespeare’s works. This production succeeded with the brilliantly narrated story with the wide repertoire of theatre expressions and the demonstration of the power of the story that wins over the death; for crossing the framework of tragedy and comedy and revealing the fluid borderline between arts and life; for playing the drama of Hamlet on the road, depicting the local tradition of Czech itinerant theatres and the current need for metaphysics, between the stage and the heaven. The production also received the Festival's Audience Award being the only presented performance that gained more than five out of six possible points (5.49).
The National Theatre Brno played The Twelfth Night, or What You Will directed by Štěpán Pácl twice and closed the festival. The production is based on the motive of a tempest and shipwreck as the beginning of something new on the stage and in people’s minds. The National Theatre Brno was also part of the accompanying program during which the performers met the audience and discussed the topics and questions the production of The Twelfth Night raised. Štěpán Pácl also led the workshop for emerging actors, in which he tried to approach Shakespeare through improvisation and body work.
Photo: Petr Chodura