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I visited the National Theatre…at Rialto, Limassol

Others might be Harry Styles fans, but I’m a Shakespear lover, I admit it.

Even though every time I watch a Shakespearean play, I understand half of what I hear, I’m always able to connect the dots through the mesmerising visuals, music and symbolisms, and that’s enough to make me feel fulfilled after a night at the theatre.

I was looking through Rialto’s online schedule and came across Much Ado About Nothing, a Shakespearean comedy first produced in the early 1600s and re-produced by the National Theatre in London. I figured that Rialto offered the official screening, and that’s when I immediately booked my spot. Shakespeare in Cyprus? By the National Theatre? On a big screen with GREEK subtitles?

Sign. Me. In.

Walking around Rialto just before the show reminded me of how I felt just before performances back in my London days. Olivia, Rialto’s wonderful marketeer, was kind enough to take me on a tour of the theatre and the screening room on the second floor, where all the magic happens. I never imagined that one screening would have so many rules. But it’s the National Theatre we’re talking about, ain’t it?

Philios who’s in charge of all projections, introduced me to the schedule that the National Theatre sent all the way from London for Rialto to follow strictly. Also, something that caught my interest is that the theatre venue had to be pre-approved (a.k.a. someone from the NT had to approve that the venue was good enough for projecting one of their productions). And Rialto obviously and definitely was up to the NT’s standards.

It goes without saying that everything about NT’s production was to die for - the costumes, the sets, the music, the direction, the acting, the lights, and even the crowd, were all that I expected. What I liked most about the play, though, is its relevance. And that’s always the case with Shakespeare’s work. Much Ado About Nothing is a story of love, relationships, women’s expectations around marriage, deception, framing, and false accusations. Tell me that those themes Shakespeare introduced thousands of years ago are irrelevant today. Of course, they are completely and absolutely relevant! And that’s fascinating.

I sat on the Balcony for a better view, which was a bit like a private screening. I took my shoes off, and I immersed myself in this experience. I blocked my thoughts, I forgot what I did before or where I was going after, and I was there, living the moment. The extremely comfortable chairs of the theatre certainly helped in this relaxing state of mind. And suddenly, I found myself amongst the National Theatre’s crowd. Shakespeare’s comedy suddenly was alive on Rialto’s stage. It was like I was in a private, parallel universe to the National Theatre. However, at Rialto, we had a small privilege. Right after the interval, we got to see interviews with some creative team members explaining how they brought this production to life. I always enjoy watching “The Making Of” videos on YouTube, so I was super satisfied with this addition to the screening.

2 in 1.

During the interval, like the true English woman I am (only in spirit), I went down to the theatre’s cafeteria on the first floor and had a quick chamomile tea with caramelised peanuts while socialising a little bit with others who were enjoying their tea and wine.

I left the theatre complete, content, and gratified.

Shakespeare’s Othello is up next in May, and I’ll be the first back at Rialto, and you should be too!

Saturday, 18 February 2023

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