16th - 19th December 2022
One month ago, 13 ambitious young performers from Warwickshire came together to develop a moving and visceral production of The Burial at Thebes by Seamus Heaney.
The challenge – they only had three days to read, understand, rehearse, and perform to a live audience.
Through multi-rolling, physical theatre sequences, and rapid line-learning this tenacious group staged an experimental and thought-provoking retelling of the story of Antigone.
First performed in 441BC, Antigone is the story of a rebellious young woman who defies the law of King Creon to bury her brother Polyneices.
How did the project work?
The company were given their scripts on Friday evening, and we read through the play in its entirety to understand characters, plot, structure, and themes.
Saturday and Sunday were intensive rehearsal days; the company worked with the creative team from 9am-6pm in the beautiful Bridge House Theatre. We began with a physical warm up and ensemble-building drama games to encourage a strong company bond. Then came rehearsals of the scenes themselves. As was traditional in Greek tragedies, we focused on developing a mighty chorus of actors who worked collaboratively.
Monday consisted of a technical run in which we plotted the stage lights, cued the music (tracks from ‘Rubber Soul’ by the Beatles) and tested the haze machine; a dress run in full costume; director’s notes; and finally, an adrenaline-fuelled performance for a wonderful audience of guests.
We spoke to the company after the project. Here are some of their reflections:
If someone was coming to watch it, barring having the script, I don’t think they’d know that it was only done in three days.
We clicked as a cast in a day, half a day, and I find that really impressive.
I’m not normally into this kind of thing of like physical theatre and kind of ‘nitty gritty’ sort of plays… so to do this is really unusual for me but I’ve incredibly enjoyed it. It was really good.
It really humanised the characters for me because we’re studying it in drama, and I was looking at them more as constructs of people… but like playing her [Antigone] for a bit really made me feel her hopelessness and how horrific she must have felt in that moment.
You got to see a whole spectrum of Antigones and Creons and all the different types of ways you can do it.
Can I just say, the costumes were so good!
The company worked unbelievably hard, demonstrating great professionalism and positivity throughout. What a joy!
Keep your eyes peeled for more exciting opportunities to get involved with Bridge House Young Company!