Billy’s Violence

Not exactly known for being squeamish, cult director Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill) is “a choirboy” compared to “the sheer brutality evoked by Shakespeare”, according to Needcompany mastermind Jan Jauwers. Ten tragedies by the English theatre icon have been incorporated into his production of Billy’s Violence. Needcompany strips Shakespeare’s works naked to the bone and asks pressing questions like why depictions of violence continue to hold such an appeal, and whether Shakespeare can help us find ways out of the spiral of hatred. Lauwers’ son Victor Afung brings Othello together with Romeo and JulietKing Lear with MacbethHamlet with Titus Andronicus, among others. The main focus is on the precarious female characters in these dramas and on the social context. Because Shakespeare’s plays were created during the time of witch trials, the plague and slavery. At the end – this much can be revealed in advance – none of the performers is left unsoiled as they receive the audience’s applause.