Oxford Playhouse: The TempestBy Roy Martin
March 03, 2011
Oxford Playhouse audiences have the chance to see a Russian take on Shakespeare next week – thanks to top touring company Cheek by Jowl.
The latest fruit of its theatrical initiative is a version of The Tempest which brings a number of Russian actors to the UK for the first time.
The show’s director, Declan Donnellan, says: “We are particularly excited about Anna Khalilulina, the young actress playing Miranda. We are looking for another project to involve her in.”
Launched 30 years ago by Declan and his partner Nick Ormerod, Cheek by Jowl now enjoys an international, reputation and its work has been seen in more than 40 countries.
It was a successful visit to Russia which led to the creation of the ‘sister’ company which has previously staged Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and Chekhov’s Three Sisters.
“Russians have the same feeling for Shakespeare that we have for Chekhov,” Declan explains.
He knows a little of the Russian language but works mainly with someone he describes as “a brilliant translator”.
Although known outside Russia principally for such legendary companies as the Moscow Arts Theatre, Declan says there are
as many different acting styles in Russia as here.
“The main difference between their actors and ours is that theatre is their priority, with work in other media being fitted in as and when,” he says.
Declan adds that he is giving The Tempest a “modernistic” look and says he is particularly keen to bring out the play’s humour which he thinks is sometimes neglected.
The production is in Russian with English titles.