Shakespeare at the 2012 Olympics

Next year, athletes from every sport from every corner of the world will reunite in London to participate in one of the most anticipated event of the year. Swimmers, basketballers, boxers, tennismen and many others are going to meet at the 2012 Olympics Games in the British Capital to compete against each other in their respective disciplines in the hope of getting the “so – desired” gold medal. I can predict that 2012 is going to be a very electric year!

But the real star of the show is going to be William Shakespeare… Surprised? I was too when I discovered that the 38 plays he produced are all going to be performed in a different language to mark the 2012 London Olympics. From Italian to Lithuanian, Stagings of Julius Caesar to King Lear, sport to theatre, there is just one step. For all the Shakespeare’s lovers out there, the six-week theatre season (part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad) will start on 23 April at the Shakespeare’s Globe theatre, so don’t be late… Read more

A Welsh Play in London

According to the 2011 UK Census, the number of Welsh speakers has fallen slightly since 2001, even in Wales itself. With that in mind, you might be forgiven for thinking that putting on a Welsh-language play in the middle of London would be a losing proposition.

Aled Pedrick hopes to prove you wrong. The actor and director is putting on a production of Gwenlyn Parry’s “Saer Doliau,” which translates to “The Doll Maker.” The play will run at the Finborough Theatre until the 19th of February.

Pedrick told WalesOnline that while staging a Welsh language play in London was bound to be challenging,

“[W]hen the Invertigo Theatre Company – two of whom are Welsh-speaking graduates from my alma mater, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama – approached me with the idea, I was intrigued. And, being a London-based Welsh speaker myself, I knew that there was quite a sizeable community of similar sorts living here, many of whom work in the theatre themselves. So I figured there’d be quite a bit of interest in something like this from the off.”

The play is written and performed entirely in Welsh, but Mr. Pedrick told WalesOnline that “while the actors’ dialogue might be in Welsh, what they’re saying isn’t tied down to one single nationality.”

“Saer Doliau” tells the story of a Welsh doll mender tormented by two mysterious strangers, both of whom may or may not be hallucinations. The set incorporates a subtitle machine, so even if you don’t speak Welsh at all, you can understand what’s going on.

This review calls the subtitles “spare” and says that the setup “works very well for those who do not know any Welsh but offers a great deal more to those that do, for whom it should definitely be compulsory viewing.”

If you’re in the area and interested in attending, tickets and showtimes can be found here.

Photo Credit: Attribution Some rights reserved by Magnus D

Hit West End Show Pioneers Translation Device

The hit West End show Hairspray, currently showing at the Shaftesbury Theatre has introduced a pioneering system which translates the show into 8 languages according to the BBC.

With one third of theatre audiences in London being tourists AirScript developers, Cambridge Consultants, hope the handsets will attract more tourists to London’s theatres.

The translation is received via WIFI and scrolls down throughout the performance. The handset has LED backlighting and the screen has a black background and orange text to minimise glare. It could be quite annoying for other theatre users if the device was too bright. It costs just £6 to hire the device.

The translated subtitles are delivered manually to make sure the line hits the screen at the same time as it is delivered on stage.

It could be quite distracting to look at a device for the whole show rather than getting lost in what’s happening on stage, but it is a great tool for tourists and can only get better as the technology advances.