Sunday, 22 November 2015

Lucy Daunt was on our first trainee course and then went on to East 15 drama school. She is now developing a new project and her research so far has included a visit to Bitesize 2015.

Same Love Shakespeare, the project that I'm working on right now, is about looking at Shakespeare from an LGBTQ (Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Trans-Queer) perspective. I’m currently exploring the idea of Romeo and Juliet as a same-sex couple.
Lucy Jane Parkinson as Joan © Milk PresentsI went to the Bitesize Festival at Warwick Arts Centre recently and saw lots of new and interesting theatre. I particularly enjoyed Joan, a show by Milk Presents about Joan of Arc played by Lucy Jane Parkinson, who won Drag Idol UK 2014 as LoUis CYfer. Her performance was utterly amazing, funny at times, but also sincerely moving. This gave me food for thought.

I started to think about ways of performing Romeo and Juliet as a one-woman show. Or maybe incorporating some of the storytelling techniques. Or even having audience participation. Originally I had had my heart set on making a short film, but now I am wondering if I could make something better, an interactive performance that might include film too.

As well as Lucy J Skilbeck's beautiful writing and Lucy Jane Parkinson's brilliant performance, one of my favourite things about Joan was the set: minimalistic with the audience sat at little tables on bar stools and chairs around a central cross made out of wooden pallet boxes.

This worked so well for Joan because of the cabaret style drag and the songs, it also enhanced the feeling that the audience were part of the piece. I started to wonder if Romeo and Juliet could be set entirely at the party and the audience could be the party guests. Or maybe there could be a storyteller who pulls out people from the audience to be part of the story.
Lucy Daunt as Romeo at Derby Pride 2015 © 1623 The other piece that took my notice was a strange piece by Stan's Cafe called A Translation of Shadows, which used mixed media where the audience watched a film narrated by a comedic actor. While I wasn’t sure about the length of the film (maybe it was a bit too long), I thought about ways I could use film as well as live performance. It reminded me of when I saw 1984 by Headlong Theatre who used film to create a sense of the outside world. I'm not sure exactly how that would work but perhaps film could be used for the outside scenes of Romeo and Juliet and the rest of the show takes place with the audience at the party. This needs more thought.
Another idea that the Bitesize Festival gave to me was mixing classical text with new writing. We also did a bit of this on the 1623 trainee course. Maybe Romeo and Juliet will speak Shakespearean when they are together and, for the rest of the time, they tell their story in their own way, breaking away from the old script and making their own.
I have lots of ideas inspired by the work at the Bitesize Festival. I should probably start making some decisions now.

Thanks to Sarah Brigham and Ruby Glaskin from In Good Company for suggesting that I go to the Bitesize Festival, Adam Pownall from Derby Theatre for taking me there, and Ben Spiller from 1623 who gave me the chance to play Juliet a few years ago and Romeo earlier this year.


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