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Roman Tragedies is a play created by Toneelgroep Amsterdam, part of Bite 08, at the Barbican theatre, performed in dutch with English subtitles, that lasted for approximately six hours with no intermission.
During the performance the audience is invite to walk through the auditorium or onto the stage for another view of the stage and a closer look of the on stage action or to simple enjoy food and beverages and simply chek his/her email in the dedicated on stage internet point.
The play joins other three playscripts by William Shakespeare: Coriolanus, Julius Caesar and Anthony & Cleopatra.

Joining an array of media technologies and art forms, including live video stream, live music, messages relay, television broadcast, and a group of performers that throw themselves in such an intensity that sometimes it almost became too real.
The effect achieved by the invitation of the public to become part of the action and occupy the stage erradicates the usual 'fourth wall', albeit the fact that everything is being filmed and therefore you are always in this ambivalence between what is real, and what is fiction, what is coreographed and what is a result of the emotion of the moment.
Although the plays are not intertwined content wise, simply happening one after the other, establishing who is playing what in the next text, and what is happening with a voice off or simply appearing in the message relay ('Julius Caeser will die in 5 minutes'), the play moves from one story to the other with no effort or artifice, simply letting us, audience, know literally waht is happening next.
Roman Tragedies is a political play through which many of the most actual subjects in present politics, governmentality and the notion of country and power are dissecated, to end up with the question of are politicians simply actors? In the end, Chris Nietvelt and Hans Kresting are indeed truly magnificent as Cleopatra and Anthony.

[ photos and video by Jan Versweyveld, Toonelgroep Amsterdam ]

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Emanuel de Sousa, arq