Shakespeare in Casablanca


This documentary about a Moroccan theatre group playing Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer’s Night Dream’ is not primarily about a Western 16th century comedy in 21st century Magrebi dialect, but the eternal problem of love.

The question the group ask of many locals as they wander the streets of Casablanca, is ‘A young couple are in love, want to marry, but the parents disapprove. They run away into a forest. What should they do?’.

The troupe interact with locals, in lots of street scenes, asking Casablancans to adlib which provides a lot of amusement. Geographical differences emerge, ‘They should go to the beach, not the forest’ and deep discussions ensue from street sellers to taxi drivers.

The group sit on the roof of an old cathedral, now an art gallery, confessing their best and worst love stories; the loss of parents, studies, unrequited and requited love. A coming of age for all of them and cathartic for some.

French is sprinkled throughout. Some discuss why they can say, ‘Je t’aime’ in French, yet not in Arabic, one girl realises she had never said it to her late father, a man fears he would be teased. Only one female uses Moroccan dialect completely to express her emotions.

No-one is named, though the director seems to be Ghassan. At last, the play is enacted in the Cathedral gardens, the director 56% certain the actors know it.
This film is a charming discussion on love and Shakespeare along Casablanca streets.

Tara Norris

  • DATE: March 2, 2023
  • WRITERS: Ciaran Creagh
  • DIRECTOR: Ciaran Creagh
  • STARRING: Eileen Walsh, Ian Beattie, Zara Devlin