The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1550  Monday, 21 August 2000.

From:           Tim Richards <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 20 Aug 2000 11:01:50 +1000
Subject:        Troilus and Cressida in Melbourne

I've just been to see Troilus + Cressida (the plus sign is the theatre
company's idea), staged by the Bell Shakespeare Company as their 10th
Anniversary celebration.

Having now seen it for the first time, I wonder why it's so rarely
staged (in Australia at least). The themes of love and war can easily be
interpreted meaningfully for a modern audience. Bell have done this with
the aid of a bank of TV screens above upstage left, intermittently
screening action from handheld cameras onstage, mimicking modern TV
coverage of warfare.

The British director, Michael Bogdanov, has added some gameshow-like
sequences to heighten the sense of conflict and sex as entertainment.
Pandarus and Helen greet the arriving audience as they arrive before the
show and after the interval, quizzing members and asking the crowd to
alternately chant "love" and "war". Sounds odd but it was well received
on the night I went.

It's a large cast with little doubling, and a fair amount of nudity. The
advertising leaflet for the show features a naked Marilyn Monroe-like
woman with the tattoo of a gun on her arm, which has caused quite a bit
of media comment (no doubt to the delight of the publicists). Bell has
been quite successful in attracting young audiences, so this will no
doubt help.

There's a full review of the production on my theatre website Stage Left
at http://www.stageleft.com.au/, for those who are interested.

As we did with Cymbeline, would SHAKSPER members like to share their
experiences of Troilus and Cressida stagings? Having only seen this one
production, I would be interested to hear how other directors have
interpreted it.

Tim Richards

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