An original production by Theatre Forge,
co-produced by Exchange Theatre.
When oppressive politics and cultural allegiances forbid love, personal choices become impossibly hard. A multi-sensory, poetic tale of Berenice’s painful journey to emancipation, this contemporary ensemble staging of one of France’s most iconic plays is underpinned by an original score of world- and electronic music and powerful physical elements.
Two lovers strive to hold on to each other as political forces tear them apart. A multi-sensory, poetic tale of one woman’s painful journey to emancipation, this contemporary staging of one of France’s most iconic plays is underpinned by an original score of world- and electronic music and powerful physical elements.
In a new translation by Rosie Hilal, this verse drama is given a powerful, contemporary re-awakening. A French classic hardly known in Britain, Berenice was written by Jean Racine more than 300 years ago. This is the first time a Racine play has been translated by a woman, which given the subject matter and central character of the piece, makes for a uniquely feminist interpretation of his work.
Three central characters, from Palestine, Syria/Turkey (the occupied East) and Rome (the imperial, dominating West) revolve around the impossibility of love in an intimate, in-the-round setting, where music and movement bring to the fore the cultural and societal clashes inherent in the play.
The agonising opposition of public duty versus private love begs the question of how much we are ever in control of our freedom, and how far we can go for love without giving up our own identity. In some ways, Berenice and Titus recall a grown-up Romeo and Juliet, with an uncertain outcome.
This is a cross-cultural, multi-disciplinary drama supported by Dramaturg Phil Morris of the Wales Arts Review, Exchange Theatre, Longfield Hall Trust (Lambeth), the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Cambridge University French faculty, and Theatre Delicatessen.
Artistic director, translator, exec producer – Rosie Hilal
Composer & MD- Tomas Wolstenholme
Director – David Furlong
Producers – Fanny Dulin, Phil Morris, Amber Savva, Kai-Gene Meisenhauer
Movement – Jenn Kay
Choreography – Jose Triguero
Costume – Charlie Baptist
Make-up – Kyla LaGrange
Lighting and Tech – Berta Pibernat-Trias
Cindy-Jane Armbruster – Phenice
Ariane Barnes – Arsace
Amanda Maud – Paulin
Matt Franco – Antiochus
Rosie Hilal – Berenice
Sam Lawrence – Titus