The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.1010 Saturday, 18 November 2006
Date: Friday, 17 Nov 2006 23:20:34 +0100
Subject: The Swiss Experience to Take Shakespeare Off the Page Now on DVD
I have already mentioned the experience we made in 2005 in the Swiss
Valley of Joux with people who wanted to popularise Shakespeare (SHK
17.0832, September 23rd).
I wrote a play in which I tried to imagine who Shakespeare might have
been, considering him to have been quite a normal person when he was
alive, living along, like anybody, and doing his job as best he could. I
supposed he didn't see himself as a genius, but as a craftsman who was
trying to do the best possible job.
Based on my (very scholarly) research, but claiming poetic license, I
tried to imagine under what circumstances Shakespeare could have written
Having had some personal experience with writing plays that one has to
correct and change up to the last minute, I re-created a Will
Shakespeare who goes from the Ur-Hamlet to the 1623 Hamlet, so to speak
under our very eyes. The actors start with the Ur-Text, and from
correction to correction, they end up with the final text. We didn't
take the whole play -- it would have been too long -- we chose key
scenes. The title of the play is: "Naissance d'Hamlet, une fantaisie"
(Birth of Hamlet, a fantasy).
A whole region was mobilised around this project, the performances were
a roaring success, and in the region Shakespeare's popularity has been
at a peak ever since. As I am not only a writer, but also a
film-director, I filmed the whole experience, and the finished film was
shown in cinemas in Switzerland. Its title is: "Operation Shakespeare in
the Valley of Joux". Now it is being published in two forms.
There is a DVD, which consists of the film itself, relating the whole
experience (in French with English subtitles), and of a bonus, which
consists of the play itself.
The DVD can be bought by itself.
And then there is a book (a limited edition), with the text of the play,
a text I wrote to relate my involvement in the project, photographs by
an artistic photographer and of course the DVD itself.
Several people were interested in this material, and asked to be
informed; I promised to do so as soon as it was available. Well, it is.
Both can now be bought at www.cledar.ch > shop, where both are described
To have a better idea of the book, you can have a peek at the
I hope those of you who will see the film will like it as the public
liked it in Switzerland.
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