Shakespeare in Jail. Hamlet in Rebibbia: from Stage to Live Streaming Performances


“Since I have known art, this cell has turned into a prison” was the last line of Caesar Must Die, the film directed by Paolo and Vittorio Taviani and winner of the Golden Bear for best film at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival. Now, after six years, the doors of Rebibbia open again to the world to let art in. The company of prodigious inmates/actors, directed by Fabio Cavalli, come back to Shakespeare in order to stage Hamlet in Rebibbia: the tragedy of revenge. If Caesar Must Die was a perfect blending of theatre and cinema, where everyday life in jail was mixed with theatre rehearsals, in an alternating montage of color and black and white scenes that culminated in a film disguised as filmed theatre, Hamlet in Rebibbia is a completely different kind of experiment. Hamlet is the universal symbol of the dialectic between Revenge and Justice and has a direct connection to the problems that dominate the prison context and the origins of many inmates. For this reason the tragedy perfectly suits the actors in the prison’s company and the place where it is staged. However, the aim of the director Fabio Cavalli was to bring the resulting play outside the jail. In order to reach as many people as possible, the play was shown all around the country through full-HD live streaming performances. Following the example of the National Theatre Live, Fabio Cavalli experimented with a new kind of theatre that, with the help of digital technologies, could go beyond the physical borders of the stage and meet cinema halfway. The aim of this paper is to take Hamlet in Rebibbia as a case study to investigate the relationship between theatre and cinema when one medium verges on the other in order to create a new, vibrant and meaningful work of art.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22390359v45p239

Keywords: Shakespeare; adaptation; cinema; streaming; theatre


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