Silent Shakespeare attempts to give meaning to some of his most famous characters, but without words. Using Jacques ‘All the world’s a stage’ speech from As You Like It as its basis, the six cast members use physical interpretation as their demonstration. At first the silence is almost unnerving and unusual but gives way to a uniquely individual experience. With limited props well utilised, the company gives a performance of almost balletic physicality to highlight some of the most well known characters in Shakespeare’s repertoire. The premise seems to be how clearly an audience can deduce a character without language. At the same time the dance of the piece, as it becomes, shows our singularity in the world to how we interact, relate and understand one another.
It highlights how different experiences can illicit shared reactions and how we do the same thing time and again expecting a different result but without gaining it comes a consequential descent into madness, as demonstrated in their Lady Macbeth and Ophelia sequence – which was both emotionally charged and beautifully presented by the exceptionally talented Annabel Bates and Kate Farrow. Their Othello and Iago section indicate how in life we can become puppets, unable to act for ourselves and under the constraint of another, and in some ways countering responsibility for our own actions, but when we are in control, it is with definite clarity, as excellently portrayed by Sharon Burrell and Joseph Adefarasin.
Natan Barreto and Joseph Adefarasin go on to demonstrate a truth of ageing; that whilst the body may age, the soul remains youthful. Michael Mitcham adds a lighter and comedic touch to the production in showing the trials and tribulations of a man in love.
To The Moon have certainly come up with a fascinating concept, which is thought provoking and entertaining. It questions how well we know Shakespeare’s characters and the ending provides a clever touch that really engages the audience. A sensual delight from start to finish, and a concept which has a glut of material for future possibilities.