Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Meet the House of Atreus

This Restless House is a contemporary adaptation of Aeschylus' Greek drama The Oresteia. It's got a rich backstory that could easily rival Game of Thrones, so we've put together this handy graphic to introduce you to the House of Atreus and shed some light on their deep, dark secrets. 

Simply hover over the characters in the image below to find out more. 

This exhilarating three-part saga runs from 15 April - 14 May and is presented in two instalments. You can even make a day of it with our Trilogy Saturdays, where Director Dominic Hill will be discussing the intricacies of staging this ambitious modern adaptation of the ancient drama between performances.

15 April - 14 May

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Emma Tracey gives us an insight into #Dream2016

In each city that the Royal Shakespeare Company's new production of A Midsummer Night's Dream tours to, local amateur actors will appear onstage alongside the professional RSC actors. Citizens Dream Player Emma Tracey gives us her insight into joining #Dream16 and performing in  at the Citizens this March. 

In March 2011 I was 14. My mum took me to see Headlong Theatre’s production of A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow,  My only experience with the play before this had been in school, so I trudged along thinking “I’m not going to know what’s going on”. I couldn’t have been more wrong; the show was stunning, magical, hilarious, and it absolutely enthralled me. From there, a love of Shakespeare grew to be a love of being on stage, acting, words, and storytelling. 

Now, in March 2016 I am 19. My mum’s coming to the RSC's production of the show she took me to five years ago but there is one big difference: I’m not going with her to see it -  I’m going to be in it.

I never thought in a million years I would actually get the part, but in true Midsummer’s style, magical things began to happen and I was cast.

The Citizens Dream Players take the stage 
120 amateur actors came along to an open audition weekend with the RSC selecting a team especially for this project. The first time all six of us met was the day we were photographed as a group - hence the slightly awkward smiles in the photo above! The next thing after a cup of tea and introductions, was the brutal four month wait until “Shakespeare Bootcamp”
The Citizens Dream Players - Emma Tracey

Come September we were thrown in to the deep end. “Shakespeare Bootcamp” consisted of three tasks. The first was individually chosen monologues and duologues. I was paired with Bill (Whiland, playing Snug) and given a duologue from Much Ado About Nothing. We both found this hilarious as he is the oldest of the group and I am the youngest. Come task two, the awkward smiles had been replaced by a warm friendship that had developed within the team. Again, we were chucked into the deep end and instructed to create a dance. We picked the classic 1940s “Sing Sing”, and threw in some Charleston steps to match. Task three came and went extremely quickly; Pyramus and Thisbe was given a new spin as a radio play, which was exciting, nerve racking, and hilarious to record. 
Amongst this, we tuned into live broadcasting sessions directly from the RSC, to share with the other groups. Being the youngest, and having experience with google hangout, I was quickly designated the “Glasgow Techie”. Again, in true #dream16 style, magical powers with computers were awoken, and when the broadcast stopped working, I only had to talk to it to get it working again. 

Glasgow Techie Emma Tracey in action
Suddenly we were in rehearsals. As quickly as January came, February galloped in. We knew each scene like the back of our hand, and our characters felt like an alter ego we returned to three times a week. Abruptly it’s March. In two weeks time I’ll be racked with nerves, buzzing with excitement, and lost in the magic of it all, as The Citizens Dream Players prepare to take the stage.

The whole process has been something out of my wildest dreams. I’ve met some of the best people you could ever hope to meet and I’ve studied Shakespeare with Royal Shakespeare Company professionals. As a young aspiring actress, I could not have wished for a better experience. On 29 March, I will step onto one of the most renowned stages in the UK, in a production by one of the most renowned companys ever, as the youngest amateur actor in this crazy adventure. The lantern above my head will not only be lit by being moonshine. It’ll be the pure excitement and joy of this adventure.

29 March - 2 April

Friday, 4 March 2016

Q+A with Get Carter writer Torben Betts

Get Carter has been adapted into a new stage play by Berwick-Upon-Tweed based writer Torben Betts. 

Get Carter writer Torben Betts. Credit Northern News.

Based on Ted Lewis' novel Jack's Return Home, Torben's version is less of the gangster caper of the 1971 film version starring Michael Caine, and more a psychological thriller getting into the mind of a criminal set against the backdrop of a decaying post-industrial city.

"Where the film is all surface gloss, the novel and Betts’s script immerse us in the point of view of a man whose mind is increasingly unhinged by what he discovers grubbing around in the seedy underbelly of his home town" The Times ★★★★
"a production that operates on numerous different levels" The Guardian ★★★★
Kevin Wathen as Jack Carter. Credit Topher McGill. 
Before the play opened at Newcastle's Northern Stage, Torben answered some questions about his new work.

Were you were already familiar with the book Jack’s Return Home?
I have to admit I came to the whole project with very little knowledge of either the book or the film. My adaptation is very much a reaction to the novel, upon which the film was based and I think perhaps having no preconceptions may have freed me up creatively.

Why were you particularly drawn to the story?
The story of Get Carter/Jack’s Return Home is in itself quite simple. A gangster goes back to his home town to bury his older brother and he suspects foul play. He trawls around the town’s underworld, making enquiries (with increasing brutality) until he discovers his suspicions are well-founded. He then takes his revenge, destroying himself in the process. What was more interesting to Lorne Campbell, Artistic Director of Northern Stage and Director of Get Carter, and myself was to look at how we could re-imagine this very well-known narrative. To look at Jack’s environment growing up as he did in a brutalised post-war world. The sense of landscape is very much a feature of the novel and clearly we are allowed much more insight into Jack’s thought processes in the novel than we are in the film. I wanted to look at the kind of man Jack Carter is, why he became the way he did. He is a sick (insane) man in a sick (insane) society and the play is like a journey for him as he gradually discovers this fact.

Credit Leo Warner

How have you found the creative process? 
If you ask any writer what they want most of all when they are making stuff up then it’s freedom. And I’ve been granted that. It’s been very liberating. Lorne has allowed me free rein to go wherever I want with this adaptation. Originally I had the idea of re-imagining the story as a Greek drama, with masks and a chorus and so on and indeed I wrote quite a lot in this way before abandoning it. This is the first time I have adapted a novel for the stage (I adapted The Seagull for Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre last summer but that’s another thing entirely) and it’s been hard but enjoyable work. Though of course I have done all the writing, Lorne has been very much involved structurally and concept-wise and so it’s been very much a collaboration. I’m not really used to working in this way but we get on well and respect each other’s instincts so there haven’t (so far) been any clashes!

Get Carter

Don't miss this dark and stylish crime thriller when it moves into the Citizens from next Tuesday 8 - Saturday 12 March only.

8 - 12 March