Sunday, September 12, 2010

Grassroots: The UK experience!

Grassroots... hmm... where to start? Well I suppose a lot of fun would be a good way to describe the whole experience for me. From start to finish, I have enjoyed this exciting and vital approach to Shakespeare. I was a tad worried from the outset about not having the usual guidance of a director and his or her 'vision'. However, the absence of a director made the experience much more rewarding. Each member of the ensemble had a creative stake in the piece and we all stumbled together towards the creation of our production. My friend put the question to me that maybe a modern day theatre goer demands more than that of the Elizabethan audience. Perhaps that might be true but this kind of theatre is unburdened by saying something or anything in particular. It is about being as engaging and entertaining as possible, a very valid concept in my opinion.

Of course this is all very good in theory and I can't deny that I was little bit petrified about performing Romeo and Juliet on the Saturday considering we hadn't even cast the play on Monday morning! Nevertheless it actually made it much more exciting because we didn't have time to agonise over decisions and we simply had to jump straight in. There was no preamble and we had to throw it on the stage, literally.

This has helped me to more properly appreciate the wonder that it is the Ensemble! We came together as a unit from Romeo and Juliet through to All's Well That Ends Well, working seamlessly together for the greater theatrical good..... or at least that's what we tried to do. I think the more we worked together, the more we established our own tone. It makes it easier to understand how an Elizabethan troupe could just turn over so many shows in such a short period of time. They knew each other so well, they could always jump straight in, take risks, experiment, and simply go for it! During one moment of All's Well, Melissa and I realised that due to the doubling up of characters, two actors would have to leave the stage, get dressed and then return; leaving a small intermission.

We took it upon ourselves to fill this small interval with some impromptu kazooing followed by a food fight involving Murray mints and Werthers originals. This sort of improvisational hoohah(for lack of a better word) would be unacceptable in a 'polished' play but it is the true vitality and improvised nature of this work which is so exciting. Anything can and probably will happen! Someone might forget to enter a scene, someone might say 'Get you to Manchester', Someone might forget which character they're supposed to be but hey that's Grassroots for you!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Once More Unto the Breach, Dear Friends!

Enrollment now open for
Henry V: Play-in-a-Day
Join us onstage as we rehearse and perform Shakespeare's beloved history!
If you can commit to memorize a scene or two, we'll send you a script and give you a part in what may prove to be the merriest and most entertaining Battle at Agincourt you'll ever see!

To sign up, send us an e-mail at:

or head over to our flashy new online sign-up form at