Twelfth Night in Damascus

I just came across the Damascus Shakespeare Festival, and apparently it aspires to be annual. However, this year’s performance of Twelfth Night by the Birmingham Theatre troupe (visiting from England) seems to have left the Syrian audience cold. The review quotes a Syrian actress named Yara Sabri wishing the show had had more music and dancing etc. to “contribute to the arts education” of a less elite audience. No surprise there. If ever there were a problematic play for cross-cultural presentation, surely Twelfth Night must be it.

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