June 12, 2006, by Peter Kirwan

A Marvellous Convenient Place For Our Rehearsal @ Cox’s Yard

Another ‘Slants On Shakespeare’ event, with Duska again (I won’t post that huge picture again). This time, director of the Dash Arts ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ that I’m seeing tomorrow, Tim Supple was the starring practitioner, with Pablo Mukherjee from the University of Warwick as the academic.

It aws another interesting event, though I won’t detail it here as it got quite indepth. Pablo’s part was fascinating, about how the forest is an asylum governed by a different set of laws, but it was quite lecture–ish– we even had handouts!

Tim’s part of the talk was more based specifically on his production. He explained how it had grown out of the actor’s own creations, as they’d rehearsed in a workshop style rather than imposed a setting on them from the start. The auditioning process, which saw him recruiting actors and street entertainers from all over India, helped with this, creating a kaleidoscope of backdrops and performance styles that became its own entity.

A few intriguing points– he challenged the notion that ‘Pyramus and Thisbe’ is full of mistakes, and pointed out that, apart from the word–slips, there’s no evidence that they put on a particularly bad play, so he chose to try doing it relatively straight. He also centred Bottom in the production, seeing him as achieving a spiritual elevation at the end, which should be interesting to witness!

I have to say, I wish I’d seen the production before I went to this talk, as I think I’m now going to be looking out for certain things based on what Tim said. The good thing about going to the talk first, though, is that I’m now really excited about tomorrow’s play. Apparently it’s in seven languages with no surtitles, so that should definitely be interesting!

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