It’s been a busy few weeks! As well as casting “Iphigenia” for the Rose Company a week last Monday (a very exciting prospect for late June, early July and beyond), ELART Productions is also slowly, but surely getting ready to perform at The Dell in Stratford on Saturday June 8th and we are all really looking forward to the experience. It’s getting scarily close now! (I’m desperately trying to stop myself looking at long-range weather forecasts; one of my grandmothers is addicted to weather news, so I’m even trying not to listen to her too closely when the subject of the weather comes up in conversation!)
It’s been great fun re-visiting the show. We performed it – not quite in this form or with quite this company – a couple of years ago and it was well-received by audiences, so it’s lovely to have a reason to play with it again. As I mentioned last post, the thinking behind it at the very start, was to devise an accessible and entertaining show that would appeal to young and old, while trying to see what it must have been like in Shakespeare’s day when women weren’t allowed on the professional stage. The comedy scenes have usually worked quite easily (well, as easily as anything ever does in a rehearsal room…), and, indeed, in the few rehearsals we’ve had to date, that has again been the case: Pyramus and Thisbe is a real romp; the 3 witches (not always played for laughs, I realise) are hilariously manic; even Cleopatra’s temper tantrum is humorously – and deliberately – OTT.
The scenes that most interest me as a director this time round, though, are some of the more serious ones. For example:
Will Portia convince as she manipulates the courtroom (admittedly dressed as a male-lawyer)?
Will the audience be on Juliet’s side as Lord Capulet rages at her for refusing to marry Paris?
Only time will tell – but (as our rehearsal photos below hopefully show) we are working hard to make these scenes as compelling, interesting and real as we can, so that our audience can experience a fully varied and entertaining ride through some of the famous Shakespearian scenes.
We hope we succeed!
Shylock., Portia and The Duke
Clarence trying to persuade the 2 Murderers
Capulet and Juliet
Yes, you read that correctly! Though it still feels excitingly unreal to me.
Months ago, on a wet, miserable, winter Sunday afternoon, I sent off an application to perform in The Dell, the RSC’s open air space on the banks of the river and, amazingly, it was chosen, meaning we get to perform in Stratford one Saturday in summer 2013. Our show is in June, and we’ve had our first rehearsal.
It’s a revival of the all-male show I put on a couple of years ago – aiming to give a sense – in an accessible, and mostly humorous way – of what Shakespeare’s shows might have been like when women weren’t allowed on the professional stage; it’s a great contast in every way to my new Rose Company project, which is also about to begin and about which I’m also very excited. I’m not going to say any more about the Stratford show now as I’m also hopefully going to be blogging the process for the RSC website, so I’ll post those links as they happen.
I’m going to be crowd funding too – to cover Stratford expenses and, if at all possible, raise some money for future ELART shows. Please look out for the crowd-funding link soon – and consider supporting us, if you feel able.
That’s all for now… I’m so looking forward to summer 2013,and feel incredibly lucky to have these opportunities: Stratford and then Reading with newly formed Rose Company.
Watch this space for brief updates on both and also have a look at the Rose Company blog (link on twitter: @therosecompany) and the RSC site (can’t believe that either!) for further detailed information.
Just a quick blog post to introduce a new venture: The Rose Company, a newly-formed all-female theatre company, of which I am a founder member – one of four.
We already have a project – Iphigenia by Lady Jane Lumley, not only the first known dramatic work by a woman in English, but also the first known translation of the Greek into English. What a great play for a group of female creatives to begin with! I’ve read and re-read it several times so far and am delighted with the immediacy of the story-telling and how “modern” it somehow feels; many lines cut through time, making a strikingly powerful impact. I can’t wait to hear how they sound when performed.
We also have a date and a venue – the Minghella Theatre at Reading University on July 9th, as part of an academic conference. (I’m a little scared about how knowledgeable our audience will be, but we can only do our best!)
Now the real advert bit: although I will detail some Rose Company activity and progress in this blog, most of the information can be found at http://therosecompany.posthaven.com/ and we can be followed on twitter at @therosecompany.
As usual, at the start of a project, I’m itching to get going! (And there is also going to be some very exciting ELART Productions news soon too – I’m just waiting for some final details. Watch this space…)
Posted in Culture, Feminism, The Arts, Theatre
- Tagged acting, challenges, directing, early modern women's writing, Greek theatre, Ipigenia, Lady Jane Lumley, Minghella Theatre, Reading University, theatre