If we were allowed to meet Shakespeare…
Jerome Salinger stated that ‘What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it’. It has been our desire for some time now that one of our theatre productions resemble that phone call. In particular, we always wanted to call up and meet Sir William Shakespeare in the flesh, and have a chat with him about his life, what has been done with his works, and more than 400 years of his post-mortem history on and off stage. It is going to be a bit like taking Van Gogh to the Van Gogh Museum or Dante among the crowds visiting his Florentine home. We will start talking to Shakespeare about the collective imaginary. Of course, it may not be the real, authentic, original William Shakespeare – yet if we succeed in meeting at least one of the possible Shakespeares, then it would still be a breakthrough. Shakespearology is a one-man show, a biography, a catalogue of more or less pop materials on Shakespeare. It is a hybrid theatre play that gives voice to the Bard himself, with the aim to overturn the usual roles. After centuries spent questioning his life and his works, he will finally have a chance to speak his mind, asking questions to today’s audiences.
concept and direction Sotterraneo
on stage Woody Neri
playwright Daniele Villa
lighting design Marco Santambrogio
costumes Laura Dondoli
sound design Mattia Tuliozi
technical assistance Monica Bosso
with the financial support of Regione Toscana, Mibact
residencies Centrale Fies_art work space, CapoTrave/Kilowatt, Tram – Attodue, Associazione Teatrale Pistoiese
***Sotterraneo is part of the Fies Factory, of the European Network Apap – Performing Europe 2020 and is resident at Associazione Teatrale Pistoiese Production Centre***
duration of the show │1h 10’
photos ©Francesco Niccolai
Sotterraneo theatre company began working as a research collective in Florence in 2005. The group is comprised of long-term members as well as a cluster of collaborators whose numbers vary according to the project at hand. The resulting working group aims to investigate the linguistic possibilities of theater – a place characterized by a physical and intellectual time, both old and hopelessly contemporary.
""Sotterraneo’s Shakespearology is an irreverent, exhilarating take on William Shakespeare and his art. It is a one-man show in the capable hands of Woody Neri, an actor with charisma and high interpretive skills. […] Shakespearology by Sotterraneo spices things up with divertissements, providing a deep insight into theatre processes and practices, which are shown live in action – dramaturgical construction, as well as how to create characters, interaction amongst actors, audience’s involvement. Theatre has always been and always will be a gamble, which is nonetheless still expected to unveil the unknown."
Valentina De Simone, LA REPUBBLICA
"Have you ever dreamt of being face-to-face with your favorite historical figure? In this show, Sotterraneo imagine what it must be like to meet the Bard in the flesh. It does so by providing a biographical excursus on Shakespeare and dazzling reflections on what it means to work in theatre. […] In Aristophanes’ The Frogs, written centuries ago, Aeschylus is brought back from the dead to give advice to the city’s rulers on how to improve its conditions. Similarly, Sotterraneo tries to evoke “the greatest dramatist of all times” to steal his secrets on how to create such a wise and popular art form, able to reach us all without ever lacking complexity."
Maddalena Giovannelli, HYSTRIO
"Shakespearology sketches out frequent, rhizomatic openings, betraying any (quiet) expectations of its conceptual core. In doing so, it proves to be a surreal mise en abyme, a divertissement which shines a light upon not just Bard’s biography, but also his immense interdisciplinary legacy. […] The show’s real purpose is hidden behind the cloak of pure entertainment – to show the mechanisms adopted to develop a dramaturgical construction, as well as how to create fully dimensional characters, direct actors, and establish a rapport with your audience."
Alessandro Iachino, TEATRO E CRITICA