Wednesday, 16 April 2014

The Robben Island Bible in Bozeman, Montana

Montana State University will present the Robben Island Bible in celebration of the 450th Birthday of Shakespeare and the 20th Anniversary of the election of Nelson Mandela as President of South Africa.

The MSU Honors College, in collaboration with the College of Arts and Architecture and Montana Shakespeare in the Parks, will present four performances of The Robben Island Bible, by Matthew Hahn, April 15-17, 2014.

This play is based on selected texts from South African Sonny Venkatrathnam's copy of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare” as well as on interviews with former political prisoners held on this island prison. In the 1970’s, prisoner Sonny Venkatrathnam received ‘The Complete Works of Shakespeare” onRobben Island during a time when they were briefly allowed to have one book with them. The book’s fame resides in the fact that Venkatrathnam passed it to a number of his fellow political prisoners including Walter Sisulu, Nelson Mandela and Govan Mbeki.  Thirty-three men marked their favorite passages in the book; passages they found moving, meaningful and profound. The production provides insight into the minds, thinking and soul of the men who fought for the transformation of South Africa. It also speaks to the power of Shakespeare’s words, regardless of place or time.

A cast of four has been selected from top tier American regional theaters and will be directed by Montana Shakespeare in the Parks Artistic Director Kevin Asselin with playwright Matthew Hahn. The evening will offer a unique and compelling look at the interconnectedness of our past and present, and the lasting power of art to inspire change.

Public performances will be on Tuesday, April 15, 2014 and Thursday, April 17, 2014 at 7:30 pm at the Black Box Theatre (11th & Grant). Tickets are free and may be reserved by calling (406) 994-4110. Seating is limited.

The playwright, Matthew Hahn, will also present a public lecture on the research and development of the play, on April 16, 2014 from 3-5pm in Leon Johnson Hall 339.

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