Sam Mendes storms Asia with Shakespeare's Tempest

Wed Mar 31, 2010 7:12am EDT
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By Alex Richardson

SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes is storming Asia with a production of Shakespeare's "The Tempest," in the second year of an ambitious attempt to bring classic plays with top-end casts to a global audience.

The performance is a production of the Bridge Project, a three-year transatlantic collaboration between Mendes, the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York and The Old Vic in London, whose artistic director is actor Kevin Spacey.

"At first I thought the point was bringing British and American actors together -- that is so not the point," said Christian Camargo, who is playing spirit Ariel in "The Tempest" after appearing in the Oscar-winning movie "The Hurt Locker."

"The point is bringing the Bridge to the different cities we are traveling to."

The production enjoyed a sell-out run in New York and debuted in Asia at the Hong Kong Arts Festival last week, before moving on to Singapore. It will also take in six venues in Europe.

British actress Juliet Rylance, who plays Miranda in the play and is Camargo's real-life wife, said the different cultures of the scattered venues made each stop of the tour a new experience.

"I am fascinated about seeing how this play fits in this city -- every city we go to there will be something that sings," she told a news conference in Singapore.

"Just going from New York to Hong Kong, there's a hugely different collective feeling from the audience. It does affect us, although we don't change anything, but the play becomes different in the way it's affected by the audience."   Continued...