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Seven times we got spooked at the International Festival


Halloween is just around the corner, so let's revisit a few productions at the International Festival that chilled us to the bone. Read on, if you dare…

1. Macbeth by Teatro Regio Torino (2017)

It surely was a dark night at the opera: skeleton horses, demonic themes and horrific bloodstains… Teatro Regio Torino and director Emma Dante were not afraid to explore the darkest notes of Verdi’s operatic masterpiece last August. It’s not the first chilling interpretation of Shakespeare’s play we’ve seen in recent years though…

2. 2008: Macbeth by TR Waszawa (2012)

Back in 2012, TR Warszawa showed us a contemporary, nightmarish vision of Macbeth full of carnage and destruction. Presented in the cavernous Royal Highland Centre to accommodate the expansive set, the production featured blazing fire, loud explosions and gushing blood.

3. Richard III by Schaubühne Berlin (2016)

Yet another dark take on Shakespeare’s work. Schaubühne Berlin introduced us to an unhinged King Richard III whose ego was as twisted and creepy as the production’s set. The intensity of Lars Eidinger’s performance of the titular role was hair-raising.

4. The Magic Flute by Komische Oper Berlin (2015)

This wildly inventive production of Mozart’s comedy had three-storey spiders, Nosferatu, demons and wolves. Director Barrie Kosky mixed dark humour with dazzling kaleidoscopic imagery to take us on a thrilling adventure we won’t forget.

5. Faust by National Theatre ‘Radu Stanca’ Sibiu (2009)

Silviu Purcărete’s wild adaptation of Goethe’s iconic tale was macabre theatre on a grand scale. We were drawn (literally!) into Faust’s apocalyptic nightmare of life and death, and witnessed agony and ecstasy in a land of orgies, torture and murder.

6. Hamlet by The Wooster Group (2013)

Here’s Shakespeare again! New York’s ground-breaking theatre company directed by Elizabeth LeCompte mixed the archive video recording of 1964 production of Hamlet starring Richard Burton, with the live performance reconstructing the piece. In other words: the cast was performing together with the ghosts…

7. La Belle et la Bête by Jean Cocteau / Philip Glass Ensemble (2013)

On that hauntingly magical night, Jean Cocteau’s bewitching storytelling was matched by Philip Glass’s evocative music performed live by his ensemble.  We watched the haunting black and white cinema classic in awe as the opera singers narrated this beautiful tale of love triumphing over greed. We got a happy ending, but there were a few scares along the way!

PS. Looking for unusual Halloween costume inspirations? Read our blog from last year.

Photo credits:
Faust © Mihaela Marin
 © Beth Chalmers
2008: Macbeth © Stefan Okołowicz
Richard III © Arno Declair
The Magic Flute © Iko Freese, drama-berlin
Faust © Mihaela Marin
Hamlet © Mihaela Marin
La Belle et la Bête © Stuart Armitt

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