The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 22.0032   Wednesday, 2 February 2011

From:         John Briggs <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
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.

John Briggs

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