The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1466  Tuesday, 6 September 2005

From: 		Jack Nieborg <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Monday, 5 Sep 2005 20:44:59 +0200
Subject: 	Shakespeare Diever

I like to inform you on our site.

In NRC / Handelsblad of 6 August, Kester Freriks traced the history of 
Shakespeare productions in Diever, a village of 2,000 inhabitants in the 
province of Drente, which has gained national fame for its annual 
open-air amateur performances of Shakespeare's plays. On average, some 
200 of the villagers take part in the production in some capacity or 
other. The history of Shakespeare at Diever dates back to 1946, when the 
local GP, L.D. Broekema, who had been a stage extra in Amsterdam's City 
Theatre, took the initiative of directing A Midsummer Night's Dream. In 
loving detail, Freriks records how at first the artificial lighting was 
provided by the headlight of Broekema's motorcycle, and how 
Mendelssohn's music resounded from a hand-operated grammophone player. 
Yet even then the village was also emulating the culture of the 
metropolis, for the acting style was clearly derived from the leading 
actor in Amsterdam, Albert van Dalsum. Whole generations of village 
children have grown up with Shakespeare, who has been played every year 
since, with the exception of an excursion to Ibsen's Peer Gynt in 1949. 
Freriks also notes that the Diever productions have always mirrored 
changing tastes in the Dutch professional theatre, from the original 
uncut Burgersdijk texts to specially commissioned modern translations, 
and from realism to abstraction in the sets, particularly under the 
innovative current director Jack Nieborg. This year's production of 
Timon of Athens was played by men only, as in Shakespeare's time, and in 
their grey business suits with red ties, Timon's friends were symbolic 
of modern capitalism. Freriks' article gives the impression that the 
history of Shakespeare at Diever might be a wonderful topic for a 
full-length study.

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