Double tragedies split by 300 years come to South Hill ParkBy Caroline Cook
January 25, 2013
Thursday, January 31 and Saturday, February 2, and Wednesday, January 30 and Friday, February 1
South Hill Park, Bracknell
Controversial, tragic and heartbreaking love will be under the spotlight at South Hill Park next week.
A pair of plays, written nearly 300 years apart, will be exploring the highs and lows of the heart when they are performed at the Bracknell arts centre.
Icarus Theatre Collective is bringing Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Frank Wedekind’s Spring Awakening to the stage, with the plays showing on alternate nights. Eight actors perform in both plays, switching costumes and roles for each show.
“I hope I remember to put the right costume on,” jokes Kaiden Dubois who plays Romeo and Hanshen.
“We have recently opened Spring Awakening at the Yvonne Arnaud in Guildford and we have been doing Romeo and Juliet for some time, but we have not alternated them yet. Bracknell will be the first time so it’s going to be interesting.”
In Romeo and Juliet Kaiden steps into the shoes of the fiery Romeo, a member of the house of Montague, who falls in love with Juliet, from the house of Capulet.
With a fierce feud taking place between the Montagues and the Capulets Romeo and Juliet are forced to keep their love hidden, but the secrets have tragic consequences.
“Romeo and Juliet speaks to everyone in some kind of way,” says Kaiden. “The classic love story, the violence, the humour, it’s all there.
“And the poetry is the most beautiful in all the Shakespeare plays. It’s incredible.”
Icarus Theatre Collective debuted its version of Romeo and Juliet at South Hill Park last year and is now taking it on the road with five months of shows up and down the country.
“It’s quite a traditional version, largely speaking, but there are a few sort of anachronistic twists and Tybolt is played by a woman,” says Kaiden, chatting on the road as the cast make their way to Welwyn in Hertfordshire for the first date of the 2013 tour.
Spring Awakening, which was written in 1891 and sparked controversy for its criticism of the sexually oppressive culture of 19th century Germany, will also be performed on the tour.
The play follows a religious community where a group of straight and gay teens are struggling with their sexuality. Exploring themes of teenage pregnancy, abortion, homosexuality and religion, the play was almost closed when first performed in New York after the city’s commissioner of licences deemed it inappropriate.
The New York court issued an injunction allowing it to proceed and today the play is regarded as being well ahead of its time.
“I think it’s really interesting to have the plays alongside each other,” says Kaiden.
“You can see the themes running through each, but also how it varies in terms of people and the situations.
“It’s a great way to compare different types of love.”
n Tickets for Spring Awakening and Romeo and Juliet, per show, are £15, concessions £14 and members £13. When booking for both shows at the same time tickets are £25, concessions £24 and members £23. To book visit www.southhillpark.org or call the box office.