What Country, Friends, Is This?

DSCF8314_opt (1)

Hello! Long time no post, but ready yourself for a long one then another. The next few paragraphs will actually discuss New Tempest Club’s Twelfth Night as it was a week ago at the half way stage of the process. Everything was so busy that after hand-writing this blog there wasn’t a free moment to type it up, yet I didn’t wish to waste it. The second post will speak about how the show went and look forward to the upcoming mini-tour (beginning tonight, 16th June, 7:30pm, Proteus Creation Space in Basingstoke). So, for now, cast your mind back to Friday 6th June. Let’s find out how things are coming along…


New Tempest Club last year tackled Hamlet, this year finds us in lighter territory with Twelfth Night. Rehearsals have been excellent so far – two weeks in and one week left (one week further to complete a small tour). It is, as is said, all coming together. All scenes have been set and lines learnt. This may be what you might expect but in comparison with the process of creating Hamlet (Part One) things are going swimmingly! Or, at least, smoothly – this year we are better prepared; the edit and casting were decided in mid-April (thanks to a well-planned four day intensive) and, frankly we are treating the text with a little less reverence. Twelfth Night is still canonical but is not the behemoth (sometimes scaremonger) that Hamlet can be (and occasionally became) in what was an often stressful but ultimately successful journey twelve months ago.


But less of that and more of this! Though I have said rehearsals are going well, there is still much work to do. Each scene is in the midst of being closely tweaked and slowly improved. Movements are being checked, transitions smoothed and lights plotted. But, of course, one of the most important (and exciting) aspects of Twelfth Night is the music involved. More so it seems than in any other Shakespeare play, the music is often portrayed as being ever-present, ubiquitous and then, suddenly, conspicuous by it’s absence. This was perfectly exampled recently by Filter Theatre Company, who brought their version of Twelfth Night to the Theatre Royal Winchester in February. Their music was live, loud and often riotous; Illyria was alive, care-free and drunk nightly . Our version won’t be quite the bombastic concert that Filter provided us but we have drawn some inspiration from their approach. Though our final piece, I hope, will leave a different, gentler and sweeter taste in the mouth than Filter’s.


I shan’t give away our plans so as not to ruin the surprise! But will say that if we get the music right it will elevate the whole play – there are so many versions of Twelfth Night to be seen the country over every year (as with all Shakespeare) that sometimes the best thing you can do is simply charm the audience by communicating a story effectively, beautifully and memorably.


With one week left, will we achieve our goal? I say yes! (Of course). You’ll have to come and see us to find out.

Thanks for reading, please come and support us if you can – Craig


Tour dates:

Friday 13th June 7:30pm Performance Gym, University of Winchester

Monday 16th June 7:30pm Proteus Creation Space, Basingstoke

Wednesday 18th June  8pm West End Centre, Aldershot [CANCELLED]

Thursday 19th June 7:30pm Discovery Centre, Winchester

Friday 20th June 7:30pm Pound Arts, Corsham

So full of shapes is fancy…