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About Playboy of the Western Region…‘…a wonderful production! So heartening to see this cast presenting thoughtful, professional theater in Abu Dhabi with joy and heart. A tremendous success!’

Corey Sullivan, Theater Mitu, NYUAD

 
An all female version of Hamlet is rare in itself, but set in the intimate cellar lounge of the Rubicon Cocktail Bar, Resuscitation's version, directed by Maggie Hannan, is an experience not to be missed.

Fortified by an aptly named cocktail 'Poisoned Chalice', concocted by Dominic Gates, in the most brilliant iridescent shades of purple and green, the entire audience was mesmerised by this unusual production. Listening to well known texts delivered with such intense passion, but with a completely different slant, opened up ones mind to new ideas. When Gertrude was pinned to the wall, like a bruised butterfly, there was a palpable intake of breath from the audience. Spotlights pinpointing each scene as it was enacted added to the dramatic tension. The very cleverly enacted fencing was a tribute to the precision and timing of the cast. As the 'men' strutted around -and I loved Polonius's multi-coloured waistcoat - the intensity of the performances captivated and almost swallowed the receptive audience.'

Simone Halfin
radio Jackie
Tuesday 1 March 2005
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Hannan's production of “The Seagull" has managed to bring one of Chekov's classics screaming into the 21st century. From the moment you enter the performance space you are a little unnerved by the fact that no stage appears to exist, just what a friend and I thought were a couple of coffee tables in the middle of the room (later becoming the stage!)

As we relaxed and read the programme we tried to work out who was working on the production and who was not. To our horror we soon realised that this was no ordinary play and that we were about to be asked to lake responsibility for part of the plays lighting without so much as a BECTU contract. As I was about to refuse a hand held follow spot from a charming member of the production team, my loud go for it American friend said "just take the thing" so I did.

Suddenly 1 felt as though I was about to go on stage and without the luxury of any rehearsal. The lights went down and it began, Maggie's ingenious idea to directly involve the audience in this aspect of the performance was truly refreshing and soon began to kick in, as my nerves subsided I found myself being carried away on this Chekov journey and truly enjoying every minute.

Her clever cross casting of the characters has worked extremely well, providing an edgy feel to the entire production. It lake's a while to establish who is who but once the penny-drops you forget that the mother is played by a pantomime dame going through the change ( John ) a wonderful performance is given by Charley Collier as Trigorin. Kieran Garland's performance as Trepliov holds the whole piece together. His performance was excellent, strong and at times incredibly menacing whilst retaining such vulnerability. I should not be surprised if we see a lot more of this talented young man and I For one will be looking forward to watching his star rise. Oh, and then there was the dummy............

Keith Honhold-Heresford (Theatre Manager. Piccadilly Theatre, London
The Seagull presented an exciting and challenging alternative theatre form. No seats, no clear division between performer and audience created a tension in the room which intensified the drama.

The performances were sharp and focussed, drawing the audience into the performance and inviting close scrutiny. The spotlights in the hands of the audience offered them a chance to intrude on the action, to seek out the truth of the acting and the relationships being played out within the same small space. Being close the actors was embarrassing for some and thrilling for others!

The quality of thr performance was high and the work by the group reflected deep thought, attention to detail and knowledge of the play, which on y comes from intensive work under very skilled direction. Maggie Hannan drew a surprising piece of theatre into being and as a member of the audience, I felt I had experienced something extraordinary.

It is through work like this that theatre grows, changes and is refreshed.

Della West, Head Teacher
 
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"The production of ‘The Seagull’ at Kingston Grammar School aptly fulfilled Resuscitation Theatre's aim of breathing new life in to classic drama. The production pared the script down to essentials but did not lose the essential mood of a Chekov play. The concept was inventive and visually exciting; there was pace and vigour, but never far away was the brooding as well as the highly charged atmosphere of the play. The placing of characters on plinths emphasised the relationship between visual art and theatre in a challenging and exciting way. I left the production not only having been challenged to look at the ideas of the play in a fresh way, but also challenged to think about the nature of theatre itself.

Duncan Baxter, Head Master
     
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The Lovekyn Chapel may be the oldest building in Kington, but Resuscitation Theatre breathed new life into this ancient venue with Maggie Hannan's stunning new adaptation of Chekhov's 'The Seagull', This vibrant and intensely physical production brought out Chekhov's concerns about art and society, and challenged the audience's assumptions about both. The radical adaptation was in itself a representation of the author's attack on conventional thinking about artistic form.

In the white-washed emptiness of the Lovekyn Chapel, a setting which summoned up chillingly the barren vacuum of bourgeois country life Checkov railed against, four actors moved from podium to podium expressing narrative, thought. intention, theme and motivation in a subtle harmony of movement, words, dance and gesture.

No convention was unchallenged. The audience, seated on cushions on the floor, perched on ledges and nestled in alcoves became part of the experience. They were invited to move among the action to alter their perspectives, and to highlight action and speech by the use of powerful hand-held spotlights.

Two of the characters, Arkadina, the actress. and Trigorin, the novelist, were cast against gender, to bring out the anonymity and unreality of the failed artistic conformity they represented, while kostia, Arkaiiuia's son and Nina, her protégé were 'correctly' cast but bare-footed to invite the audience to believe in the doomed integrity of their vision and innocence. The Freudian notions of sexuality the play explores were stunningly, shockingly yet tenderly explored using a life-size but utterly unrealistic stuffed dummy.

As well as brilliant visionary adaption and direction by Maggie Hannan, the production was vivified by compelling performances from Kieran Garland as Kostia, Troy Webb as Arkadina. Catherine Craiision as Nina and Tara Gadomski as Trigorin. This was powerful ensemble playing carried out with rare conviction and physical and vocal grace by a young cast of tremendous potential.

Let us hope that the Lovekyn Chapel, part of Kingston Grammar School, will continue to provide a venue for such unique and original theatrical experiences as that provided by this most exciting of companies.

Nick Bond

 
It was exciting to be so cavalier with the original Shakespeare text in terms of the staging and the physical images we used with the language. Playing Hamlet, 1 felt that physical style freed me from the fear of delivering such famous lines. Stuffing the letters passed between Ophelia & Hamlet into her mouth during the 'get thee to a nunnery' scene made a perfect physical sense of the words for me

Most magical for me was the decision to use puppets/dolls to be the players, with Hamlet manipulating them, for the play within a play. I felt so in control in that moment both of the audience and as Hamlet, of the court. I can remember tinkling, broken music playing and everything still in the half light as the puppets played out Hamlet's truth in their own voices.

Another amusing memory during rehearsal was of all the women playing men making our own character male members!

Martina Clarke, Hamlet

www.martinakclarke.co.uk
Resuscitation Theatre