shakespearesglobeblog: The Transformation of …

shakespearesglobeblog:

The Transformation of Juliet Capulet.

In the run up to our dramatic reading of Kill Shakespeare on Friday 27 July, co-creator and co-writer Conor McCreery has given us an insight into the development of Juliet Capulet for the comic book universe where all your favourite Shakespeare characters collide.


One of the things we’re most proud of with Kill Shakespeare is the legion of fans,
largely female, who come to us saying some variation of the following:

‘I
really love what you’ve done with your Juliet. I used to hate her so much, but
I love reading your take – you totally reinvented her.’

Obviously, it’s an ego boost when people
tell you that you’ve somehow managed to improve on the work of the greatest
storyteller in English language history, but it’s not true. We
don’t think we’ve “re-invented” Juliet. Rather, Anthony, Andy, Corin and I just
brought into relief what was already there about the character.

But let me take a step back here first.

For those of you unfamiliar with the

Kill Shakespeare

series,
when Hamlet meets Juliet it’s seven years after her ordeal with Romeo, and the
young woman is not only alive, she is leading a rebellion against Richard III!

image

On the surface, taking our favourite
star-crossed lover and making her Joan of Arc, but with slightly fewer delusional
visions, might seem like a big change. After all, isn’t she kind of a drip? She
just meets this guy and in a couple of days she’s so in love with him that she
enters a suicide pact?

We’d argue though that Juliet is
misunderstood. Instead of being seen as the ballsy take charge kind of girl
that we see, people think of her as passive, or weak.

Here’s our quick case for Juliet as
Elizabethan bad-ass (yeah, yeah, she was supposed to be 14th
century Italian…):

  1. In Juliet’s time she is not
    legally a person. She is the property of her father for him to do with as he
    pleases. Shakespeare makes a point of
    showing that her father, at least when it comes to the Montagues, is quick to
    anger, and willing to use violent force.
  2. Juliet openly defies her father
    by refusing to marry Paris. A bold move for any woman of the time, and especially
    when she knows her father has a temper. And, sure enough, Lord Capulet is
    enraged. While Capulet threatens to disown Juliet, it wouldn’t be totally out
    of the picture for him to change his mind, and kill her for sullying the family
    name – especially if he finds out she’s lost her prized virginity to a… Montague.
  3. Speaking of that prized
    virginity – another great moment that shows how Juliet is more active than we
    realise comes in the balcony scene. Romeo, basically, wants to climb that
    balcony to prove to Juliet he loves her, by showering her with affection and,
    well, getting it on. Juliet manages this incredibly difficult feat: she tells
    Romeo she likes him, is interested, but also knows he was just mooning over some other girl, refuses to let Romeo get too hot or bothered, definitely refuses to let him climb the balcony to make love to her, and does that all without upsetting the fragile ego of the teenage boy.

(I’ve never been a fourteen-year old
girl, but that seems like a pretty difficult path to navigate and a total win
for Juliet.)

And lastly… after it all goes horribly
wrong, Juliet stabs herself to death with a dagger. To death!

image

(Our Juliet is no stranger to showing other people the
business end of a dagger.)

So yeah, I’d say Juliet gets a bad rap
as this passive girl with no gumption. That made it easy for us to re-imagine her
as someone who, if she survived, would want to channel all that passion and
self-confidence into something to atone for all the people who had died because
of her actions.

It’s important to note that what Anthony
and I did not want to do, was make
some soulless “terminator” version of Juliet. Yes, she would be trained to
fight. Yes, if she had to, she would kill for her rebellion, but the key thing
to us, was that Juliet was still identified with what she always has been –
love.

It may not be romantic love – in fact, when
you first meet Juliet romantic love is something she’s sworn off. I
mean, she did that, and look what happened – death and heart-ache. But love for your fellow human beings – a love that demands you do something to help them have a better life – that love
Juliet still has in buckets.

It’s a key element to our Juliet’s motives.
She isn’t blind to the criticisms we level at her today. She sees herself as someone
who was once callow, foolish and self-absorbed. That’s why in

Kill Shakespeare

she leverages the fact
that she was a child of privilege to find ways to support the nascent Prodigal
(rebel) movement dedicated to overthrowing tyrants like Richard III and Lady
Macbeth. It’s her passion, love for people, and keen mind (as well as getting
taught to kick ass by Othello – read book 5!) that sees her become worthy of
leading a rebellion.

image

I’m excited that you will get to see our
take on the Bard’s most famous heroine. Because another thing that made me
incredibly proud was when the actress who played our Juliet when the Kill
Shakespeare show played in New York came up to Anthony and me, and told us that this Juliet was perhaps the best role she’d ever played. Because this Juliet, while a rebel and a
fighter, didn’t lose the passion and love she had for those in her life. 

Or, as she put it: ‘she didn’t have to give up what makes her a woman, to become a hero.’

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Discover more about the world of Kill Shakespeare at our upcoming dramatic reading.

The Transformation of Juliet Capulet.In the run up to our…

The Transformation of Juliet Capulet.

In the run up to our dramatic reading of Kill Shakespeare on Friday 27 July, co-creator and co-writer Conor McCreery has given us an insight into the development of Juliet Capulet for the comic book universe where all your favourite Shakespeare characters collide.


One of the things we’re most proud of with Kill Shakespeare is the legion of fans,
largely female, who come to us saying some variation of the following:

‘I
really love what you’ve done with your Juliet. I used to hate her so much, but
I love reading your take – you totally reinvented her.’

Obviously, it’s an ego boost when people
tell you that you’ve somehow managed to improve on the work of the greatest
storyteller in English language history, but it’s not true. We
don’t think we’ve “re-invented” Juliet. Rather, Anthony, Andy, Corin and I just
brought into relief what was already there about the character.

But let me take a step back here first.

For those of you unfamiliar with the

Kill Shakespeare

series,
when Hamlet meets Juliet it’s seven years after her ordeal with Romeo, and the
young woman is not only alive, she is leading a rebellion against Richard III!

image

On the surface, taking our favourite
star-crossed lover and making her Joan of Arc, but with slightly fewer delusional
visions, might seem like a big change. After all, isn’t she kind of a drip? She
just meets this guy and in a couple of days she’s so in love with him that she
enters a suicide pact?

We’d argue though that Juliet is
misunderstood. Instead of being seen as the ballsy take charge kind of girl
that we see, people think of her as passive, or weak.

Here’s our quick case for Juliet as
Elizabethan bad-ass (yeah, yeah, she was supposed to be 14th
century Italian…):

  1. In Juliet’s time she is not
    legally a person. She is the property of her father for him to do with as he
    pleases. Shakespeare makes a point of
    showing that her father, at least when it comes to the Montagues, is quick to
    anger, and willing to use violent force.
  2. Juliet openly defies her father
    by refusing to marry Paris. A bold move for any woman of the time, and especially
    when she knows her father has a temper. And, sure enough, Lord Capulet is
    enraged. While Capulet threatens to disown Juliet, it wouldn’t be totally out
    of the picture for him to change his mind, and kill her for sullying the family
    name – especially if he finds out she’s lost her prized virginity to a… Montague.
  3. Speaking of that prized
    virginity – another great moment that shows how Juliet is more active than we
    realise comes in the balcony scene. Romeo, basically, wants to climb that
    balcony to prove to Juliet he loves her, by showering her with affection and,
    well, getting it on. Juliet manages this incredibly difficult feat: she tells
    Romeo she likes him, is interested, but also knows he was just mooning over some other girl, refuses to let Romeo get too hot or bothered, definitely refuses to let him climb the balcony to make love to her, and does that all without upsetting the fragile ego of the teenage boy.

(I’ve never been a fourteen-year old
girl, but that seems like a pretty difficult path to navigate and a total win
for Juliet.)

And lastly… after it all goes horribly
wrong, Juliet stabs herself to death with a dagger. To death!

image

(Our Juliet is no stranger to showing other people the
business end of a dagger.)

So yeah, I’d say Juliet gets a bad rap
as this passive girl with no gumption. That made it easy for us to re-imagine her
as someone who, if she survived, would want to channel all that passion and
self-confidence into something to atone for all the people who had died because
of her actions.

It’s important to note that what Anthony
and I did not want to do, was make
some soulless “terminator” version of Juliet. Yes, she would be trained to
fight. Yes, if she had to, she would kill for her rebellion, but the key thing
to us, was that Juliet was still identified with what she always has been –
love.

It may not be romantic love – in fact, when
you first meet Juliet romantic love is something she’s sworn off. I
mean, she did that, and look what happened – death and heart-ache. But love for your fellow human beings – a love that demands you do something to help them have a better life – that love
Juliet still has in buckets.

It’s a key element to our Juliet’s motives.
She isn’t blind to the criticisms we level at her today. She sees herself as someone
who was once callow, foolish and self-absorbed. That’s why in

Kill Shakespeare

she leverages the fact
that she was a child of privilege to find ways to support the nascent Prodigal
(rebel) movement dedicated to overthrowing tyrants like Richard III and Lady
Macbeth. It’s her passion, love for people, and keen mind (as well as getting
taught to kick ass by Othello – read book 5!) that sees her become worthy of
leading a rebellion.

image

I’m excited that you will get to see our
take on the Bard’s most famous heroine. Because another thing that made me
incredibly proud was when the actress who played our Juliet when the Kill
Shakespeare show played in New York came up to Anthony and me, and told us that this Juliet was perhaps the best role she’d ever played. Because this Juliet, while a rebel and a
fighter, didn’t lose the passion and love she had for those in her life. 

Or, as she put it: ‘she didn’t have to give up what makes her a woman, to become a hero.’

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Discover more about the world of Kill Shakespeare at our upcoming dramatic reading.

Artistic Director of Theatre Royal Stratford E…

Artistic Director of Theatre Royal Stratford East, Nadia Fall, today announces her inaugural season, beginning this September.

The season opens with The Village, a new adaptation of Lope de Vega’s masterpiece Fuenteovejuna by April de Angelis. A powerful play about community and solidarity, Fall directs the production in homage to Joan Littlewood, who staged the production at Theatre Royal Stratford East under the title The Sheepwell in 1955. Transported to contemporary India and with a renewed poignancy, Fall’s first production opens on 13 September.

October sees the return of Cassa Pancho’s hugely popular Ballet Black, who as part of their partnership with the theatre return for their third consecutive year with a new Double Bill.

This is followed by the European première of Sarah DeLappe’s award-winning debut play The Wolves which premièred in 2016 in the US. Directed by Artistic Director of the Gate Theatre, Ellen McDougall, The Wolves opens on 30 October.

Matthew Xia returns to Theatre Royal Stratford East, having previously directed here as well as being a member of the theatre’s young company, to direct the much-loved annual pantomime opening in December. Staying true to its critically acclaimed tradition, Sleeping Beauty, with the Book by Sarah A Nixon and Mark Chatterton with Music and Lyrics byRobert Hyman will also feature original songs.

In the new year, Frantic Assembly and Theatre Royal Plymouth’s production of The Unreturning has its London première when it comes to Stratford as part of the show’s UK tour. Written by Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting winner Anna Jordan and directed by Frantic Assembly Associate Director Neil Bettles, the production celebrates the 10th anniversary of Frantic Assembly’s Ignition training programme, of which Theatre Royal Stratford East has been a partner.

Get your tickets at www.stratfordeast.com

Open from April until the end of September, …

Open from April until the end of September, Underbelly Festival Southbank brings the best in live circus, comedy, cabaret and family entertainment to the heart of London. We’ve got an amazing line-up of shows in an amazing city-centre, pop-up festival world. You can enjoy international street food, after work drinks in one of London’s largest outdoor bars and a true festival atmosphere on the banks of the Thames.

Get your tickets here: http://www.underbellyfestival.com

Othello in rehearsal.Claire van Kampen directs Shakespeare’s …

Othello in rehearsal.

Claire van Kampen directs Shakespeare’s

all too human story

tale of jealousy and betrayal. The wasteland of death may be both Iago’s goal and his harvest, but the stage belongs to Othello, a man who loved perhaps unwisely and too well.

Othello opens 20 July 2018.

Photography by Simon Annand

Cast announced for Love’s Labour’s Lost.Shakespeare’s rarely…


Dharmesh Patel


Kirsty Woodward


Paul Stocker


Jade Williams


Tom Kanji


Leaphia Darko


Charlotte Mills


Jos Vantyler

Cast announced for Love’s Labour’s Lost.

Shakespeare’s rarely performed play, Love’s Labour’s Lost, opens in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse later this summer. 

Dharmesh Patel will play Berowne.

Kirsty Woodward is Princess of France.

 

Paul Stocker will play King of Navarre.

Jade Williams is Rosaline.

Tom Kanji will play Dumaine.

Leaphia Darko will play Katherine.

Charlotte Mills is Boyet.

Jos Vantyler is Don Armado.

Love’s Labour’s Lost opens 23 August 2018.

Our Theatre. On the 12th of July the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse…

Our Theatre. 

On the 12th of July the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse will be surrendered to a pair of warring Dukes; a flock of love-sick shepherds; some aristocrats with a penchant for cross-dressing; a man who likes to set fire to things; a really miserable poet; a forest; a deer; and an entirely unexpected lion.

Oh, and 62 school children.

This piece of merry mania is part of Our Theatre, a community project supported by the Harris Foundation for Lifelong Learning, which will see three mainstream secondary schools, one special educational needs school and one adult drama group perform everyone’s favourite sheep-centric Shakespearean comedy, As You Like It. All of the groups are based in the borough of Southwark, and they will perform the play in their school or community spaces, and in the Globe’s Sam Wanamaker Playhouse (notable for its Jacobean, gold-rimmed gorgeousness, but also – this week – for its really excellent air conditioning).

The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse performance will see each group perform a single act of the play, with the dramatis personae being provided by:

Act 1 – Sacred Heart Catholic School

Act 2 – The People’s Company

Act 3 – Spa School (whose in-school performance featured a bubble machine, which should be a compulsory element of all performances of Shakespeare from now on).

Act 4 – University Academy of Engineering South Bank

Act 5 – ARK Walworth Academy

The groups have been rehearsing for the last eleven weeks (under the expert tutelage of their school drama teachers, and of the Globe Education Practitioner assigned to each group), and this process has been documented by 16 undergraduate photography students from London South Bank University, whose work will be on display as an exhibition alongside the performance on Thursday.

Our Theatre is a fabulous opportunity for young people (and not so young people) to perform in front of an audience in a professional theatre; to become familiar with a complete Shakespeare play (Shakespeare has – alongside a few other accolades – the distinction of being the only named author on the GCSE syllabus); and to meet and mix with other people from across their home borough. We were all incredibly proud of this (and rightly so), but then we read a bit of the programme submitted by Simon Humphreys, the Head of Drama at Spa School (a school for children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders), which made us all think a bit:

“Many people believe Autism prevents emotional attachment, and impedes social behaviour, but I know that my students completely negate that with their honest and empathetic performances, that hopefully will stay with you long after the show, and inform your future friendships with autistic people”

Much as we love to do our bit for the cause of opening up the worlds of Shakespeare and theatre (and we love it very much), we hope that Our Theatre will be able to achieve something even more.

Photography: Our Theatre 2016, Cesare De Giglio 

Believe As You List cast. Our Read Not Dead series revives…

Believe As You List cast. 

Our Read Not Dead series revives forgotten plays. Actors meet in the morning, rehearse and perform, script-in-hand later that day. 

This cast will be performing Believe As You List. 

Catrin Aaron
Nadia Albina 
Jilly Bond     
Sarah-Jayne Butler
David Carr 
Jonathan Christie
Neal Craig
Clive Hayward
Victoria John
Theo Ogundipe
Caitlin Shannon 
Michael Sheldon
Jon Trenchard 
David Whitworth 

#GlobeFootball

When is theatre like football?In this guest blog, Playwright and…

When is theatre like football?

In this guest blog, Playwright and actor Michael Wagg enjoys the football fever of our ‘Voter’s Choice’ tour, and cheers some casting goals…

I will roar that I will do any man’s heart good to hear me.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream 
A1, s2 

Amid the cheering in Russia and the hollering at big screens the world over, among all the talk, since Panama, of roaring lions and football coming home, there’s another spectacle currently crossing Europe which is worth shouting about.  

While, as far as I understand it, a game similar to modern football was played in China in the 3rd Century BC – making the English claim of its gift to the world seem a bit silly – the current Shakespeare’s Globe on Tour company does have, whisper it, an English gift: the bard himself, amid the gathering rabble of a theatre crowd.

It’s a welcome one too. Not only three Shakespeare comedies touring the UK, mainland Europe and Asia, but the visceral reminder that the audience matters, that our voices count, that it wouldn’t happen if we didn’t turn up.  And what’s more you get to cheer!  In a theatre!

The company of eight actors, directed by Brendan O’Hea, has a menu of three productions on offer at each of the performances designated ‘Voter’s Choice.’  Whether we get to see The Taming of the Shrew, The Merchant of Venice or Twelfth Night, is down, purely and simply, to us.

It’s the loudest roar that wins out, judged by a randomly picked member of the audience if it isn’t immediately obvious which was the most enthusiastic racket.

At the Globe in May I saw folk slapping wooden pillars – head back, open-throated roaring abandon that I’ve only ever seen at football matches.  In Spain last week the same: plus stamping of feet and arms in the air as if on a rollercoaster, at the thought of the play.  It all felt perfectly Shakespearean.

image

And then the show starts. There and then.

On Thursday night in Madrid I counted eight seconds between the result of the vote and Russell Layton as Antonio telling us ‘In sooth, I know not why I am so sad.’

There’s a plain immediacy to this, a celebration connected to the community of theatre – and World Cup football for that matter – that the Globe’s experiment shouts of: the fact that players and spectators are gathered in the same place, too often forgotten by theatre-makers, the urgency of the moment of choice; as at the match, the effect we can have.

The three shows are great: well-paced, beautifully-spoken and clear productions.  But the experiment also stands as a reminder to the democratic nature that our theatre must speak of.  There is fairness here.  The casting of the eight, multi-roling actors – four young, recent graduates, four older – is gender-blind and age-blind (Cynthia Emeagi, for example, plays the young Jessica, Olivia, the Prince of Morocco and the older father Baptista) and, most significantly, takes a big leap towards an equal division of leading, particularly male character, roles.

Globe artistic director Michelle Terry is currently playing Hamlet on Bankside; elsewhere Catherine Cusack is soon to play Prospero in Chester; and this tour sees Sarah Finigan playing Shylock, [the first female actor to do so at the Globe].  Something good is happening here, something really worth shouting about.

Moreover, too few women over fifty have spoken Shakespeare in the Globe.  This is a balance redressed in O’Hea’s touring season, which also plays on Bankside.  Sarah Finigan and Jacqueline Phillips – who plays Portia, as well as the young man Sebastian and the older man Gremio among other roles – are both over that age. Long may it continue home and away.

And for those lucky enough to get to watch all three of the Globe touring plays, there’s a real pleasure is seeing each actor’s full gamut of parts.  One night Steffan Cennydd is Viola in Twelfth Night, the next afternoon he’s the Prince of Arragon, to the delight of the Spanish crowd.  While Finigan swaps Shylock for Bianca and then dons Sir Andrew Aguecheek.

I was in Madrid all last week and did have the chance to go to three performances, in the hope of bagging a hat-trick.  At my first whoop I got Twelfth Night; at my second, The Merchant of Venice.  I’d taken a break to watch Spain v Iran, during which The Taming of the Shrew was chosen.  And the next night I kept everything crossed and readied myself to scream for the Shrew again.  But to no avail.  The people spoke: El Mercader de Venecia.  No complaints, though. This is the people’s game. Fair play.

Visit our website to find your nearest tour venue

Photography: Marc Brenner