The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 22.0032 Wednesday, 2 February 2011
From: John Briggs <
Date: January 29, 2011 6:32:35 PM EST
Subject: 22.0021 The Revenger's Tragedy
Comment: Re: SHK 22.0021 The Revenger's Tragedy
On 28/01/2011 00:57, Duncan Salkeld wrote:
>A one-night only production of The Revenger's Tragedy takes place on Saturday
>29 January, 7.30pm, tickets 10 pounds, at The Spring Arts Centre, Havant,
>Hampshire. They're also doing Volpone in May:
Yes, I suppose I should have alerted the list to this, being even nearer to Havant than Duncan is. I
hesitated for two reasons: the theatre at The Spring Arts & Heritage Centre is rather small (I counted
135 seats tonight, about 120 of them occupied), and rather more importantly, I had no idea who SOOP (the
performers) were. It turns out that they claim to be Hampshire's only regular improv troupe - and there
were just two men and two women who played all the roles (16 + corpses: they were assisted as necessary
by puppets, masks, and minimal props or changes of costume). It was played as a broad comedy - which is
right, after all: "The Revenger's Tragedy" *isn't* a Revenge Tragedy, although it probably is a parody of
the genre (the perfunctory plot-twist at the end was surely intended to be ridiculous.) As well as most
of the cast, a fair amount of the text was jettisoned, trimming the play to two one-hour acts. Nearly all
the plot was retained (parts of acts 4 & 5 were dispensed with) - although the dialogue isn't really of
the highest (or even high) quality, I'm not convinced that the plot is the best part of the play...
But I'm probably not the best person to judge, as I'm not a huge fan of the play, and don't know most of
the genre being mocked (in some ways it's a post-"King Lear" take on "Hamlet"...) or the likely authors
(I think the current trend is to blame Middleton) - whoever he was (or they were) the author(s) may well
have intended to remain anonymous.
Anyway, it was an enjoyable Saturday evening's entertainment, and I was mildly surprised that the area
could deliver an audience for fairly obscure Jacobean drama.
The "Volpone" will be by a different group, community theatre this time, and it will be interesting to
see if they can find a eunuch, a hermaphrodite and a dwarf.
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