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  • 21Mar

    Adapting Shakespeare

    By: Will Brooks
    Category: #BehindtheScenes Blog

    Wow, what a year for adaptations!  We in the theatre industry pride ourselves on being quick, nimble, and adaptive but this year is a whole new and exciting challenge as you can imagine.  

    While much of our adaptive thinking is geared towards finding solutions to problems that get us to opening night under often difficult situations, one of my personal favourite adaptation processes is what I get to do with each directing project – adapt a Shakespeare script.  I have always had a passion for playwrighting and that has certainly been something that has formed a part of my approach to Shakespeare.  Many people approach the work to edit for length, characters, etc. But some folks, like me, enjoy going a bit further into an adaptation.  In the past I have enjoyed adapting Othello and Titus Andronicus in particular, but right now I am busy at work adapting the great Shakespeare tragedy Macbeth. In the high hopes that we will be able to bring audiences to our space in person this summer, we have been moving forward with a new adaptation of this play for our particular pandemic times.

    While every adaptation project is driven by the themes and stories that the adapter wants to present to the audience, this particular project also has to take into considerations the challenges of Covid times!

    How does one pull off a production of Macbeth with only five actors?

    What happens if those actors can’t have physical contact and even have to stay 2 metres apart?

    What happens if we can’t have costume changes or props?

    What happens if you have to wear a mask?

    What happens if you have to present the story of battles and war without fight choreography or physical contact?

    What does this do to the tension and themes that are so strong in Macbeth?!?

    These are just the tip of the iceberg on unique questions to this adaptation on top of all of the artistic considerations that are a part of all adaptations like; what story to I want to highlight, what do I want the audience to walk away thinking about, what makes this story applicable to our times, and on and on!

    One of the great paradoxes of the world and creating art is that if you have all of the options available to you with no restrictions you will have a heck of a time getting anywhere.  However, if you have a box of restrictions that you know you have to work withing, the human creative mind will go to work figuring out something beautiful and important that can live within that box of restrictions.  That is exactly how we feel right now as we lean on our hope and keep adapting in order to invite you into an officially announced season.  

    We don’t know what will happen, but we can hope.  

    We don’t know what will happen, but we can create.

    Here’s to hoping that we will be able to announce an in-person festival some time in the spring and see you live and in person in the summer!

    Will Brooks

    Artistic Producer and (hopeful) director of a production for you this summer.

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