2022 National Tour
Written by: Caitlin Stevenson, Francesca Browne, Isabella Kerridge-Temm
Although Titus was extremely popular in its day, over the course of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries it became perhaps Shakespeare’s most maligned play, and it was only in the latter half of the 20th century that this pattern of denigration showed any signs of subsiding. This is attributed to the violent and graphic nature of the piece which didn’t fit with the moral compass of the time.
Well, now the USC aims to make the play great again! Definitely aimed at senior students, the USC takes their usual irreverent approach to the work incorporating modern references, fast-paced comedy and some 16th century special effects.
But we don’t want to take away from the themes and chaos within the text, so the USC adaption honours the story and doesn’t shy away from the horrors portrayed within.
The Roman general Titus Andronicus returns from war with four prisoners who vow to take revenge against him. They rape and mutilate Titus’ daughter, have his sons killed and banished after which Titus kills two of them and cooks them into a pie, which he serves to their mother before killing her too. And if that isn’t enough murder and mayhem the Roman emperor kills Titus, and Titus’ last remaining son then kills the emperor and takes his place.
Just your average Quentin Tarantino movie, or even a potential Harry Potter film maybe?
We do advise a trigger warning with the themes but promise the USC humour will always shine on through.
So, bored with Hamlet, The Scottish Play and Othello? Make way for you and your students to explore a Bard piece that is not oft’ performed.
2022 National Tour
Written by: Adam Fresco
Fairies in the garden, manipulating spirits trying to outwit each other, hallucinogens and dancing around moonlit glades. Sounds like a New Age festival in Nelson? No.
It is the USC’s take on that classic Shakespearian fantasy.
People get lost in the woods. A fairy (?) manipulates their romantic affections and (in one case) anatomical head-shape. They put on a play.
Four Athenians run away to the forest only to have Puck the fairy make both of the boys fall in love with the same girl. The four run through the forest pursuing each other while Puck helps his master play a trick on the fairy queen. In the end, Puck reverses the magic, and the two couples reconcile and marry. Sound simple? Perfect for an intro to Shakespeare for new audiences or to reinforce the message with a comedy about one of Shakespeare’s comedies. The USC plays a group of actors playing a group of actors playing various roles including… yes, you guessed it, a group of actors. All the original humour of this piece plus the USC’s own interpretation in 50 easy minutes. No trigger warning here, only to warn about the laughs and fun your students (and you) will have in this fast paced rollick through the forest.
We invite you and your students to sit back or roll off your seats laughing at the 27th offering from the Ugly Shakespeare Company. So take the fear out of Shakespeare for your students. An excellent piece to use for NCEA exploring the aspects of various theatre elements as well as a fast paced comedic fifty minute version of these classic works!
The Ugly Shakespeare Company has a proven record in New Zealand schools, providing consistently high-quality live theatre performances since 1996. For 27 years we have provided accessible, relatable and entertaining shows that not only take the fear out of Shakespeare, but also give students the opportunity to engage in new New Zealand theatre written by contemporary NZ playwrights. Crediting the students with intelligence, we like to challenge their thinking, present issues that are contextual to their lives, and entertain them at the same time.
– A great performance and very professionally done.
– While many students struggle to see beyond the complex language, to the timeless themes, stories and humour- the Ugly Shakespeare company ensures that our students are exposed to his work
– Great performance, enthusiastic presentation and fun workshops. This was a great learning experience for ourstudents.
– They make Shakespeare relevant to a modern audience, especially those who are tentative about it. It also allows for discussion at the more senior level in relation to thetraditional text.
Email address: [email protected]
He Waka Eke Noa Charitable Trust (A canoe on which anyone may embark) was set up in 2002 to facilitate and ensure the growth of all forms of the arts in Aotearoa with a particular focus on nurturing youth arts. Since then the company has produced 27 national theatre tours, produced several plays, 2 award winning short films, a web pilot, numerous festivals and arts events. He Waka also established and ran KickArts, a weekly arts radio show on PlanetFM, running since 2012. We handed it over to a new provider in 2020.
The Ugly Shakespeare Company is proudly administrated by He Waka Eke Noa Charitable Trust.
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