BWW Interviews: Director Judith Roberts Prior To Touring De Oscuro's MAC//BETH
"I established De Oscuro because I wanted to create work that allowed the two native languages spoken in Wales to work together. I had been exploring the possibility of working with classical texts and dance and doing so bilingually for more than a year - by then felt ready to begin to shape this production. In casting it, I found that two of the actors (both from Wales) were able to speak two other languages - Hebrew and Polish. As a director, I felt this was a gift from the Gods, in that I had four languages with which I could play.
"I had found that once you step outside the world of realism and treat language as directly communicative, but also communicative in terms of its sound and the expression it brings, then it felt possible to weave together the four languages. The production is mostly in English, but when three of the characters are in distress, they do what so many do, and return to their native language.
"People migrate today, so you don't hear one language spoken, but many; there are longstanding relationships in which one partner speaks one language and the other another. I have a Macbeth and a Lady Macbeth, with one Welsh speaking and the other not - but, of course, she who speaks in Welsh can also speak English.
"I've structured the piece in such a way that in terms of following the story, the plot points are always delivered in English, ensuring that the circumstances of the moment are understood. I've also been very careful to weave enough English into the sections that use other languages to make them perfectly understandable. Of course, it's also so physical a piece that language is not the only means of expression.
"The starting point for every gesture is the dramatic moment, so every gesture is inspired by a desire to express what the character is thinking and feeling in that moment. I have the physical abilities of the cast [actor/dancers] available to me for any situation, which is a greater physical vocabulary. The text is the starting point for the work - it's not a piece that begins with the choreographic steps which are then imposed on the text. The language is sometimes spoken as the characters are dancing - we've tried to give the characters physical expression alongside verbal expression.
"Theatre in Wales has evolved dramatically in the past decade. The theatrical tradition in Wales is fairly young - it evolved in the twentieth century, and there have been different phases in that development. Physical theatre has been something that Welsh artists gravitate towards, though it has been taken out of the country. But now we have two national theatre companies, both working in different ways, allowing significant development. At last what's happening on stage in Wales is proving of interest outside Wales - which is very good to see. The Eisteddfod tradition nurtures many young people who then go on to train as professionals - but I'm not sure the relationship continues beyond that.
"There's been huge interest in this piece in Wales and London, so it's been great to know that the appeal is international."
From 1 - 6 November 2013, Cardiff-based dance-theatre company De Oscuro will present a unique and innovative production of Shakespeare's classic, dark tale at Wales Millennium Centre followed by two nights at the Royal Opera House's Linbury Studio Theatre from 12 - 13 November, before touring to Pontio at Beaumaris Centre (20 November), Aberystwyth Arts Centre (26 November), Emlyn Williams Studio, Theatr Clwyd (3 - 4 December).