Mike Jonathan: “Road to the Globe: ‘Troilus & Cressida'”

The Hunt for Troy

Documentary
First Released: 2012
Run Time: 52 minutes

Synopsis: The Road to the Globe is an “all access” documentary which charts the historic performance of Shakespeare’s “Troilus & Cressida” in Te Reo Māori by Rawiri Paratene’s theatre company at the Globe in 2012.

In 2010, with the coming of the 2012 Olympic Games, the home of Shakespeare – The Globe issued a proclamation outlining the world’s biggest Shakespearean festival: 37 countries, 37 Shakespearean plays, 37 languages.

Rawiri Paratene answered the call and was duly given Shakespeare’s little known “Troilus & Cressida.” To raise the stakes, Rawiri and his theatre company were also charged with opening the festival.

The Road to the Globe follows Rawiri and theatre director Rachel House throughout the rehearsal period, where we meet key cast members and watch them confront their fears, struggle with lines and moves and ultimately lift each other up to face their opening curtain.

Review: This is a short documentary whose quick pace makes it feel even shorter, but, as predicted, I thoroughly enjoyed watching it. The Trojan War, Shakespeare, behind-the-scenes footage, and discussions of language and culture – this is a whole bunch of things I love all in one movie, and it pains me that I don’t actually have a lot to say about it.

· As someone who knows essentially nothing about Māori culture, I would have loved more information about the costumes, the dances, and the make-up used in the play. I also would have appreciated subtitles for the interviewees who code-switched (for example, by starting a sentence in English and finishing it in Māori). At the same time, however, I accept that monolingual white Canadians are probably not this movie’s target audience, and the filmmakers’ decision to not include subtitles or cultural explanations is a fair one.

· I loved Paratene’s story about celebrating Shakespeare’s birthday every year.

· From what I’ve been able to see of this production of “Troilus and Cressida,” both in this movie and in the videos linked below, it looks like it was AMAZING. Creative staging, the addition of nonverbal humour, actors who fit their roles perfectly, and a firm setting in Māori culture. I also love how the female characters seem to have been given more to do than usual – I am completely in favour of bringing Andromache onstage for more than her ONE scene!

While I would have loved it if this documentary were longer, even at less than an hour it’s a really valuable look at what must have been a fantastic production, and it does a good job of showing the myriad emotions experienced by those involved. If you think you’d find it interesting, I highly recommend checking it out.

Watch: the trailer, a clip from the movie, a news clip, the first three minutes of the play, a thirty-minute video about adapting the play: part one and part two

Buy it at: Amazon.com, Amazon.ca

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