¶ For the next three weekends, the Original Practice Shakespeare Festival (a.k.a. OPS Fest or OPSF) will be holding their WIL Festival. The aim is to perform all 15 Shakespeare plays they have in their repertoire—they add two each year—over successive weekends. Aside from the opportunity to get speedy exposure to half of William Shakespeare’s oeuvre, this is also as close as you might get to seeing the plays in the system for which they were designed: in repertory.
¶ There is a vibrant tradition of performing William Shakespeare’s playtexts cross-, multi-, and trans-culturally. Such productions help us think through our own positions of privilege and reflect on the paradox of globalization—that to learn about other countries and cultures seems to always come with the threat of violence. For post-colonial writers, Gabriel García Márquez called this paradox the “crux of Solitude”: “poets and beggars, musicians and prophets, warriors and scoundrels, all creatures of that unbridled reality, we have had to ask but little of imagination, for our crucial problem has been a lack of conventional means to render our lives believable.” A play interested in Shakespeare’s text as a shared vocabulary, and then putting that in conversation with other shared cultural vocabularies, Bag & Baggage’s world premiere of “Romeo & Juliet (Layla & Majnun)” is stunning.