Billy’s Violence

Shakespeare is the most widely read and performed author in the history of the world. Yet many of his plays are almost unperformable because of their violence and horror. The brutality of scenes that Shakespeare put down on paper shakes our sensibility and imagination time and time again, despite the fact that at the beginning of the 21st century dread and suffering is being broadcast live non-stop and has become a part of daily life. In his famous essay Shakespeare, Our Contemporary, Jan Kott argues that “Shakespeare is like the world, or life itself. Every historical period finds in him what it is looking for.” 20 years after staging King Lear (2000), Jan Lauwers reaches out of Shakespeare’s realm to question the significance of violence in today’s arts, and to search for its theatrical images that can become not only relevant, but also affective and transformative. For Billy’s violence, the poet Victor Afung Lauwers reimagines Shakespeare’s 13 tragedies.

based on the 13 tragedies of William Shakespeare
writer: Victor Afung Lauwers
director: Jan Lauwers
composer: Maarten Seghers
lighting: Ken Hioco
costumes: Grace Ellen Barkey
dramaturgy: Erwin Jans, Elke Janssens
with: Nao Albet, Grace Ellen Barkey, Gonzalo Cunill, Irene Escolar, Romy Louise Lauwers, Juan Navarro,
Maarten Seghers
Premiere: 8 July 2021, Festival Grec de Barcelona
A Needcompany production
Co-production: Festival Grec de Barcelona & Teatre Nacional de Catalunya
Produced with the support of the Belgian Federal Government and Flemish Government’s Tax Shelter