Reported by Kristyn Anthony
It’s a story of love, war and tragedy and in the midst of a divided modern world, Studio 58 presents Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida which opens Nov. 17 and runs until Dec. 4.
Written in 1602 and set in the seventh year of the Trojan War, Troilus and Cressida has long been considered one of Shakespeare’s more problematic plays. The questioning of intrinsic values of honour and love gives the story a distinctly modern feel. Troilus is a Trojan prince who falls in love with Cressida, the daughter of a Trojan priest.
Recent graduate makes his return to Studio 58
Director Kevin Bennett, a graduate of Studio 58, returns to stage in a full-scale production, inspired by his recent world tour with Shakespeare’s Globe.
“A lot of these principles [employed at the Globe], I’m bringing into this production,” Bennett said. “For example, I want to the actors to be able to see the audience and the audience to see the actors equally.”
Some people who attend the play will find themselves in seats lining the stage, evoking a direct connection with the actors. Bennett said it is a simple concept, but creates a profound experience for the audience.
“I never considered myself a Shakespeare nerd,” Bennett said. “But I realized, if you crack it – if you have the skill and the ease and the techniques, anyone can understand Shakespeare.”
Shakespearean language a challenge for actress
Comprehending the text to better present the story was something third-year student Raylene Harewood faced in her role as Cressida.
“When I first read it, I thought it was about how all women are false, or unfaithful,” she said. “But now, because of my position in the show I think it’s a lot about how women don’t have power, and how men really have the power.”
Sound designer and composer Ben Elliott, also a Studio 58 alum, said one of the challenges of his role was writing music to fit around the lyrics of songs Shakespeare wrote in the play.
Elliott wanted the audience to imagine themselves in another time without distracting them from the story.
“I used guitar, but also trumpets and synths so it’s a cool mash-up,” he said.