Arts & Entertainment

UK presents Quechua-language ‘Hamlet’ at Bolivia book fair

La Paz, Aug 9 (EFE).- The United Kingdom, guest of honor at this year’s edition of the Bolivian capital’s international book fair, has presented a Quechua-language version of “Hamlet” as part of its participation in the event.

That work, which features key moments from William Shakespeare’s early-17th-century masterpiece, as well as Andean elements, was performed on Tuesday by Bolivia’s Teatro de los Andes theater company.

A second staging of the play, one of the UK’s main activities at the fair, will take place on Thursday.

“I’m very grateful for (the Teatro de los Andes’) work and very honored to be able to share a bit of my culture through a Bolivian language” that will allow people to connect with the play, the UK’s ambassador to Bolivia, Jeff Glekin, told Efe.

The idea of presenting one of the most influential works in world literature in Quechua, one of Bolivia’s 36 official languages, was to generate a “cultural impact,” he added.

Language was not the only novel aspect of the presentation, whose incidental music was provided by three Teatro de los Andes actors playing Andean woodwind instruments.

“Our Hamlet is more Andean. It has indigenous music. The characters are dressed in leather. It’s a mixture of aesthetics … it’s contemporary but without leaving aside the Andean elements,” Gonzalo Callejas, Teatro de los Andes’ artistic director, told Efe.

The cast acted out the scene in which the young Hamlet talks to his father’s ghost, as well as the famed “To be, or not to be” soliloquy, Callejas said.

The simple stage design also featured the novel use of an easily transportable “door/table,” which was adaptable to the needs of each scene.

Tuesday’s performance lasted just 15 minutes.

While the actors playing characters such as Hamlet and Ophelia said their lines in Quechua, a screen to their side provided a Spanish translation so the audience could understand the work.

“Quechua is a wonderful language, metaphorical. It’s difficult to learn. But, at the same time, when you do it’s wonderful to pronounce the words,” Callejas said.

The magic and fantasy of British literature and ecology are the main themes of this year’s 27th edition of the La Paz International Book Fair. EFE


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