With the official opening last November of the 1200-seat new "Giovanni Da Udine" theatre, one of the most interesting and modern structures in Continental Europe, the town of Udine has rapidly become one of the most prolific cultural centres in North-Eastern Italy. In addition to the large new theatre, hosting some of Europe's most distinguished theatre companies, Udine also boasts a number of interesting seasons in smaller venues operated by Centro Servizi Spettacoli and Ente Regionale Teatrale.
Opening Apr. 1 at the experimental Spazio Teatro Capannone, an old warehouse in Udine's industrial district, is William Shakespeare's Henry VI, Part Three. Produced by Udine's Centro Servizi e Spettacoli in co-operation with Ente Teatrale Italiano, the show marks the final step of "The War of the Roses", a six-month workshop conducted by director Antonio Syxty, involving 11 young actors, some of who are performing professionally for the first time. The initial outcome of Syxty's workshop was the experimental staging, last December, of Henry VI, Parts One and Two.
After the opening performances of Part Three, on Apr. 4 and Apr. 5, the company will play a true theatre marathon with the 12-hours long unabridged edition of Henry VI Parts One, Two and Three. Silvia Ajelli, Giovanni Battaglia, Raffaela Boscolo, Matteo Caccia, Paolo Cosenza, Federico Dilirio, Antonio Latella, Alessandro Pala, Ken Ponzio, Patrizia Romeo and Rosario Tedesco will play 150 characters and over 8,000 verses in a record-breaking show which will start at 2 pm and continue well after midnight.
In Henry VI William Shakespeare packed in decades of English history, covering the Hundred Years War, the Wars of the Roses and the rise and fall of one aspiring hero or heroine after another, including Richard, Duke of York, who will eventually become King Richard III. One of the least known of Shakespeare's plays, Henry VI has never been performed in Italy in its unabridged edition. Notable English productions include the 1988 Royal Shakespeare Theatre mounting directed by Adrian Noble starring Ralph Fiennes in the title role, and the 1987 English Shakespeare Company mounting directed by Michael Bogdanov.
Henry VI was translated into Italian by Angelo Dellagiacoma with an adaptation by Raul Montanari and features sets and costumes by Andrea Taddei and lighting by Alberto Bevilacqua. With Shakespeare's Richard III running thru Apr. 5 at Trieste's Politeama Rossetti, less than 50 miles away from Udine, one will have the rather unique opportunity to attend the entire performance of the Bard's tetralogy on the War of the Roses.
Henry VI Part Three will run in Udine thru Apr. 9; there are no plans of a touring production. Information and performance schedule is available at Centro Servizi e Spettacoli (+39 432 50.47.65).
--By Stefano Curti