The Raw Shakespeare Project: Comedy of Errors

Comedy of Errors

Raw Shakespeare Project

11th January 2019

McLaren Vale Visitor’s Centre

The Raw Shakespeare Project, previously Little Fish, opened their Summer Season on the 11th of January, with a performance of Comedy of Errors at the McLaren Vale Visitor’s centre. If you haven’t seen a show here, it’s certainly something to put on your bucket list. A Shakespeare company often found out of doors, The Raw Shakespeare Project, with director Damien White, has brought a number of the bard’s plays to life over recent years, showcasing the acting of a number of local and talented actors each sharing a passion for Shakespeare.

The McLaren Vale Visitors Centre is one of four venues to host this performance, three of which are located in the iconic wine region forty minutes from Adelaide. Stage-less, The Raw Shakespeare Project makes use of the open grass at the rear of the building, using the beautiful backdrop of local vineyards, hills, and forestry to contrast with the varied and vibrant settings of various Shakespearean works.

Beginning at seven, the show was designed to take place as dusk fell, fairy-lights and “stage” lights prepared for the evening to come. With one twenty-minute interval in the show, audience members were given the opportunity not only to refresh their drinks, but also to marvel at the changing sky behind the centre as the sun set.

Comedy of Errors follow the story of two identical sets of twins whose lives have been spent apart. Antipholus of Syracuse (Jabez Retallick) and Antipholus of Ephesus (Ognjen ‘Oggy’ Trisic) and their servants Dromio of Syracuse (Phoebe Shaw) and Dromio of Ephesus (Isabella Shaw) are interchangeably mistaken after Antipholus of Syracuse and his servant arrives in Ephesus. As the hilarity of mistaken identity ensues, is becomes “clear” to Adriana (Kate van der Horst) that her husband has gone mad. With the help of her sister Luciana (Heather Crawford) and the Duke Solinous (Damien White), Adriana intends to help her husband overcome his madness. But will Amelia (Shannon Gray) have something to say about that?

With the ready dynamic of the Shaw sisters as the Dromio sisters, and the cheerful antics of White as Solinous, Comedy of Errors was in set in motion. The similarities between the Shaw sisters gave the comedy a feeling of authenticity it might have otherwise lacked.

Despite a few extremely minor hiccups, the show was certainly entertaining and engaging. With much of the audience entranced, the Raw Shakespeare Project certainly paid tribute to the bard. I would recommend experiencing the Raw Shakespeare Company if not for their performance, then for the rich value of the experience: watching talented actors convey stories that aren’t just familiar but ingrained into our culture.

Comedy of Errors will be showing on Saturday January 18th at Beach Road Wines, Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd of February at Marion RSL, and concluding on Saturday 9th February at Fox Creek Wines.

Tickets for this limited time only show can be purchased online through their website: https://www.rawshakespeareproject.com.au/box-office

 


Words by Kayla Gaskell20181009_105310

Kayla Gaskell is one of the managing editors of Tulpa Magazine. She has a Creative Arts and Honours degree in Creative Writing from Flinders University. As well as working on Tulpa, Kayla writes for Fest, The Eye Creative, Readplus, and more.

 

Macbeth – The Raw Shakespeare Project

On the chilly night of the 1st of September, I journeyed to see the RAW Shakespeare Project’s production of Macbeth. It was everything you want in a play; passionate, intense, and transporting. The basic materials and the minimalist set made the actors the prime focus of the play. With the small room, close-set seats and nothing between the audience and the performers, it felt like you were right there in 9th century Scotland.

Despite the word ‘raw’ in the name, I didn’t expect the small and intimate set. However, I was pleasantly surprised at the effects that could be produced by good acting, a few set pieces and a couple of lights. The set consisted of a few benches and a centrepiece that looked like a fountain on one side and a garden wall on the other. The show was directed around this minimalist set, creating an atmosphere of no distractions between the audience and the actors.

The acting in the show was superb. The actors had an incredible aptitude for conveying the darkness and the emotional turmoil of the tragic play. There were a few points where the characters broke down and cried whilst addressing the audience: moments such as when Macduff’s wife finds out she is going to die, when Macduff finds out his wife has been murdered by Macbeth, and Macbeth’s slow descent into madness. The eye contact and the mascara running down bare cheeks charged the performance in a breathtaking way. The acting was so exquisite that these bare, emotional parts of the performance had the hairs standing up on the backs of my arms.

One fact that I was particularly interested by was that, besides Macbeth himself, the cast was entirely women. This cast a layer of feminism and female empowerment over the play. This appealed to me, especially in these times where female empowerment is such a political and social forefront of our society. The original lines were changed slightly so that the women were still female characters. For example, Macduff is a strong female warrior with a beautiful wife and the previously ‘King Duncan’ character was matriarch Queen Duncan. In this sense, the show had been adapted to reflect the modern, open-mindedness of our age, which was very uplifting both to myself, and to members of the LGBTQA+ identification.

The 17th century words of Shakespeare remained unchanged from the mouths of 21st century actors. Although a bit hard to follow because of Shakespeare’s overtly floral language and the dialect of Old English, the acting brought a slice of that time into that small room.

In conclusion, this was a great show that was intimate, emotional and capture the spirit of Shakespeare’s Macbeth perfectly. It was raw. It was Shakespeare. Why would you go and see anything else?

 


Words by Sarah Ingham.

Photo from The Raw Shakespeare Project website.

Keep up to date with the Raw Shakespeare Project via their Facebook page. Their next event is the Shakespeare’s Lovers Spring Fling Festival.