Published on 04/05/23
A retelling of the greatest works of Shakespeare (abridged). Written by Ms Kim Albone (with a little help from Mr Will Shakespeare himself).
Have you ever used sayings such as “tongue-tied”, “in a pickle” and “cruel to be kind”? If so, you have quoted Shakespeare. In fact, it’s likely we each cite him every day without even realising it.
When Ms Albone planned this year’s Sixth Form enrichment production, she originally thought to either perform a condensed version of one of Shakespeare’s plays, or to perform a compilation of his most famous scenes. However, when she met her talented cast, it was clear that there was much more they could do. This was a group of people who were indeed most capable of performing Shakespearean scenes, but would also suit the comical stylings of something more fit for a Fringe Festival.
Thus Not Half Bard was created and written especially for our intrepid performers: a one act play that explores Shakespeare's most famous works, but the styling of which is heavily influenced by The Reduced Shakespeare Company, a touring American comedy troupe that performs fast-paced, seemingly improvisational condensations of huge topics.
Our ensemble cast were presented to the audience as a chaotic group of actors with a mission to introduce the audience to the world of Shakespeare. Their aim - to cover as many plays as possible in the shortest amount of time whilst keeping the audience thoroughly entertained. Thus, the prologue to ‘Romeo and Juliet’ was presented as a rap, King Lear became a contestant on ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’, a debate was held to compare the plot of ‘Hamlet’ to ‘The Lion King’, and ‘Macbeth’ was reimagined on a crazy golf course with thick Glaswegian accents and ‘I’ll see you Jimmy!’ as the final line of the play. The audience were also treated to the hilarious scene from ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream' where the Mechanicals perform ‘The Most Lamentable Comedy and Most Cruel Death of Pyramus and Thisbe’ at the wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta.
These comic retellings were interspersed with more serious monologues, giving the actors an opportunity to show their performance skills and to remind the audience of the lasting power of Shakespeare’s words.
All in all, the performance was enormous fun and the audience left thoroughly entertained and perhaps a little more familiar with some of Shakespeare’s best loved plays.
Stephen Perse Sixth Form Open Evening – 12 October. Click here and book your place.