Thisbe’s journey began about 18 months ago with a research and development workshop on just a kernel of an idea proposed by Samantha Sutherland: what if Demetrius was the only one of the lovers who remained under a spell at the end of A Midsummer Night’s Dream? And what if he had a daughter called Thisbe who was to find this out?
We explored this through Thisbe’s eyes - a teenage girl who is yearning for some affection from her Dad and getting tired of his relentless devotion to her mother, Helena. Thisbe’s ongoing curiosity with the woods gets the better of her and, against her mother’s wishes, she ventures in. There she meets Puck and his crew of motley fairies ready to meddle in the story all over again. Puck presents Thisbe with an antidote to her father’s spell. Believing this will make her dad pay more attention to her, Thisbe uses it on Demetrius and… POOF! The family wake up to find him gone. Thisbe is left with the challenge of making her parents fall in love again but “for real this time”. This story is a wonderful provocation to the happy-ever-after ending we expect from Shakespeare’s comedies.
This production will be the second reincarnation of the show, after it premiered at the Vault Festival last March. Samantha Sutherland has reworked some of the script, we’ve recruited a few new faces to the cast, written a couple new songs and have decided to incorporate BSL. The latter has been a particularly exciting challenge to embark on. Taking inspiration from exceptional companies such as Graeae and Deafinitely Theatre, we have been looking at ways of enhancing our visual story-telling by incorporating BSL signing and a more mime-based technique called ‘visual vernacular’. The actors will be sharing some of the BSL signing with our main interpreter, the actress Jennifer Wilson. It’s essentially like making a play in two new languages and it’s proven to be a great exercise in training your brain muscles!
Thisbe is a joyous show with beautiful live music and an impressive amount of multi-rolling. I am very lucky and utterly thrilled to be working with an astoundingly talented cast and production team. Theatre Stratford East have been so supportive and encouraging - we look forward to spending a week here!
Roberta Zuric - director
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