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RIO DE JANEIRO — Exploring feelings through playing different roles is recognised as helping people with mental health problems. And the theory has led one doctor to bring Shakespeare to Rio de Janeiro.
“Ser ou não ser, eis a questão!” – “To be, or not to be. That is the question!” bellows a rugged, masked Hamlet, against the stunning backdrop of the Brazilian city’s golden Ipanema beach.
His fellow actors begin chanting Shakespeare’s famous words, before setting off in giddy skips, their faces in theatrical grimaces, around the circular stage. These performers are not part of a professional theatre company.
They are patients from the Nise da Silveira Psychiatric Hospital – many have diagnoses of severe schizophrenia and chronic psychosis.