Thursday, April 07, 2005


Just to let you all know we have our first (albeit modest) grant. Runnymede borough council have awarded us the princely sum of £1,500 and on top of this Corney and Barrow the wine merchants will probably sponsor the first performance at Dovedon Hall. So it seems at last as if things are beginning to move, long may it continue.

Sexual Politics

On Saturday I was keen to highlight how in this production I want to emphasise the sexual ambiguity and sexual confusion prevalent within both the text and indeed subtext. As mentioned in the discussion at the end of the rehearsal the challenge is to get the tone and the 'overtness' of this right. There is a very thin line to be trod especially when appealing to a family and schools audience base, however I do want to extrapolate a little on the juxtaposition between the clear gender differentiaition evident in the Edwardian context with the ambiguity Shakespeare provokes in terms of the lovers. It should be noted that the Edwardians were a society in which gender differentiation was at its greatest, women were considered delicate, sensitive and decorative creatures reliant on men in their jackets and waistcoats to protect them. It is the personification of the Princess in distress archetype, and it this repressive society that enables the freedom that Viola- and to a degree Olivia- discover so brazenly when their gowns and veils are ripped from them. The 'up in the air' twelth night feeling that will help dictate the tone of the production must be seen as being directly caused by the context in which our characters are placed. To use an analogy it is perhaps akin to an 'own clothes' day at school where you feel somehow freed- and able to do things you would not do when in uniform.

Yet couple this with an emotion as over powering as Love and the stage is braced for a series of moments which defy logic and reason and further more defy expectations. Too many Twelfth Nights give audiences exactly what they are expecting- Twelfth Night has become to a degree a tradition in its own right- like Christmas which I suppose is both to be expected and yet at at the same time rather ironic seeing as Twelfth Night itself is the undoing of tradition.
I suppose my aim for this production above all is to undo this tradition and engage our audience in the action and the lives of our characters, to lift them and to move them, to make them laugh and above all to excite them. For when they watch this production, they are themselves taking part in Twelfth Night, they are as much a part of the action as the actors, to this extent they are implicated in the fate of Malvolio and the reflecxivity of disguise goes full circle. As Feste brings us back to earth with a hey ho the wind and the rain, I hope people will walk out embued with that loathsome feeling of returning to the real world after a vacaction- for in the two and a half hours they are with us- they will be party and witness to a most memorable twelfth night - at least that is to what we must aspire!

after all the rain- it raineth every day