Trojan War Maori Style
The director of New Zealand’s version of Troilus and Cressida Rachel House explains how she put Maori culture at the heart of Shakespeare’s Trojan tragedy. Thirty-seven theatre companies from around the world are presenting Shakespeare’s plays in different languages from 21 April through 9 June at the Globe to Globe Festival in London. The play has already had several performances in New Zealand, where it has received warm reviews. Troilus and Cressida begins with a haka. “You guys only see the haka before the rugby,” House says. “There are actually thousands of haka, and the ones you see in the play have been choreographed specifically for the show.” Shakespeare’s language, she explains, translates into something “visceral, raw and quite brutal” in Maori. The 14-strong cast includes Maori actor Rawiri Paratene. The first complete Shakespeare translation in Maori was Othello by Pei Te Hurinui Jones in 1944.