Here we are updating the ‘blog for the first time in months with a posting that’s pretty much identical to the announcement over on our Official Website! (but guess what: we’re putting slightly different photos on this one so it was worth your while visiting both ‘sites!) Yes indeed, people: The Bacchanals will be back in 2013 with TWO fantastic new shows!
In January we’ll be presenting our twenty-fourth (!) show and our twelfth (!) Shakespeare, and it’s a good one! Can it really be only a year since David realised that Coriolanus isn’t the worst play in the canon? What happened was this: at the end of Julius Caesar we were talking about a community centre touring Shakespeare for 2012 and David re-read a bunch of plays to choose between the final contenders. If you were reading this ’blog last summer you’ll know all this – it was looking like a toss-up between All’s Well That Ends Well, Troilus and Cressida, Antony and Cleopatra, Timon of Athens and Pericles and Much Ado About Nothing would have also made the final list. But in the midst of a Christmas-New Year Early Modern Drama-binge, David was re-reading Heywood and Middleton and Fletcher and suddenly found himself realising, “Hey, I haven’t read Coriolanus since 1997 back when I thought it was crap,” and took it off the shelf on one of his daily long-walk-around-Wellington-reading-a-play walks (you’ve seen that weird guy who walks around Wellington reading plays? that’s him!!). Never has someone been so happy to discover that a play they thought was crap was actually one of the best plays in the entire canon and even though it seemed far too ambitious and difficult to be a Bacchanals church hall/community centre touring production, the play wouldn’t leave David alone and the more he read and re-read it, the more he realised this would be the next Shakespeare for The Bacchanals!
Coriolanus is the tale of how one man can go overnight from being the most popular guy in town to the town’s most hated and feared enemy. It caps off two Shakespearean trilogies based around the same story/idea – it forms the last instalment of a trilogy that begins with King Lear and Timon of Athens in terms of showing us a man whose faith in humanity is destroyed when he discovers how people really see him; it forms the last instalment of a trilogy that begins with Antony and Cleopatra and Macbeth in terms of showing us a man who knows himself too well to be listening to the corrupting influence of an ambitious woman (only in this case it’s his mum rather than his mistress or wife!). Coriolanus was Shakespeare’s last tragedy before moving into the tragic-comic/Romance mode of the late plays.
Our production of Coriolanus (which we like to think of as ‘The Parish of St Barnabus Re-Enact the story of The People of Rome versus Caius Martius’ , if that gives you any idea of how we might be staging it!) plays at The Long Hall in Roseneath from Thursday 24 January to Saturday 2 February 2013, at 7pm every night except Sunday. All tickets are $10! The Long Hall is easier to find than you’d think – it’s behind Roseneath School and St Barnabas’ church. Get yourself to the Roseneath shops and it’ll be signposted! You can book by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org (click that link and book now, go on!). Bring food with you if you want, bring cushions (we’ve got chairs aplenty but they’re probably not the most comfortable things in the world!), and early rehearsals indicate that blood might go everywhere during this show, so maybe don’t wear your Sunday best, hipsters.
Coriolanus stars the mighty Alex Greig as Caius Martius, Jean Sergent as his mother Volumnia, Salesi Le’ota as his old friend Menenius, Kirsty Bruce as his wife Virgilia, Joe Dekkers-Reihana as his great enemy Aufidius, Michael Ness as the general Cominius, Brianne Kerr and Walter Plinge as the tribunes Sicinius and Brutus, Hilary Penwarden as Titus Lartius, Amy Griffin-Browne as the First Citizen, Cassandra Cleland as Valeria and Dasha Fedchuk, Morgan Rothwell, Tony Black, Lauren Wilson, Hugo Randall, Rosanagh Kynoch and Rebecca Sim as messengers, soldiers, citizens, attendants, senators, gentlewomen, Romans, Volsces and Coriolii! The show is designed by Bronwyn Cheyne, frocked by Charlotte Simmonds and directed by David Lawrence. Come spend a lovely summer evening with us in a lovely hall having a time. If the play goes to plan, there’ll be a riot, then a battle, then an election, then an exile, then an alliance, then a war and finally a reconcilement! You’d better come and see this show because, look, Alex knows where you live. Can’t wait to see you all in January!
One of the very last acts of the fantastic Martyn Wood, the best programme manager BATS has ever had (but welcome Cherie! you will be great also!), was to schedule a Bacchanals show for April. What began as an intended sequel to last year’s Half An Hour In Heaven Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead, to be performed low-key in the Pit with no organisation/rehearsal, will now become a proper show in a proper theatre! (or as much a proper theatre as BATS turns out to be in 2013!) Which is great, because now it can have songs! dances! masks! banjos! a Chorus! hula-hoop fights! And much much more! Aristophanes’ play The Clouds wasn’t a huge success upon its first performance in 423BC – it only came third place in that year’s City Dionyzia – but perhaps, 2436 years later (or 2138 years later if you believe in Phantom Time, which we do – it’s only 1715 folks, and it’s October!) its time has come at last! Since we started with a Greek comedy back in 2000, it is fitting that the 25th Bacchanals show should be our 13th-birthday-production of a brand new text of an Aristophanes play!
To get out of paying his debts in this time of economic recession, Strepsiades decides to send his son Pheidippides to University so he can study Argument under the great Socrates – that way when the creditors turn up Pheidippides can argue them out of having to pay their bills, because everyone knows that if you’re skilled in Argument then hey, you can murder your own brother-in-law and get away with it! Imagine a cross between an episode of The Simpsons, The Muppets, 30 Rock and The Young Ones. The Clouds is, depending on how you look at it, either a biting satire of those who believe that higher education is a waste of time or a biting endorsement of higher education as a waste of time!
The Clouds plays at BATS Theatre in their temporary home upstairs on the corner of Cuba and Dixon Streets from TUESDAY 2 APRIL to SATURDAY 13 APRIL at 6.30pm. Book by calling (04) 802-4176 or e-mailing email@example.com (do it now – they’d find it hilarious!). At this stage the plan is that it will star Julia Harrison, David Lawrence and the magnificent Salesi Le’ota as Socrates (yes, the above image is of him as Dionysus, not Socrates, but you get the idea!), but who knows how much will change by April? Maybe there’ll be a huge Chorus of Clouds in Princess Leia bikinis? Celebrity cameos every time we do a 30 Rock-stylewhip-pan? Anyway – expect live music, metatheatricality and angry ranting satire at the very least. The Clouds will leak as much comedy as Coriolanus oozes blood!
So there you have it, faithful viewers – not one but TWO Bacchanals shows to look forward to at the start of 2013! Who knows what else the year will have in store? People keep calling for parts two and three of Henry VI … and we also have an idea for a show called Happiness is a Warm Gun: A History of Firearms because we all know that video games killed all those kids and that armed guards in all American schools is the answer to everything. Don’t worry, the reverse-gender Importance of Being Earnest is still on the cards too … Keep checking back here with us! Or follow us on BookFace, WordStamp or Tweeter for the latest updates! Let’s make this the best 1716 ever! (seriously, google Phantom Time.)
Next time: more up-to-the-minute Coriolanus updates, no doubt!