Working with Shakespeare

One week down of 4 for Team C in WA and what a week it’s been!

Firstly, we’d like to thank all the schools that have had us so far and send out a thank you in advance to all the school we’re going to visit – our job wouldn’t exist without you guys and it’s actually the best job in the world so it’d be a shame if it didn’t exist !


Now down to business, ahem, Shakespeare. The guy’s a genius – although the Players knew it before, we’re definitely convinced by it now. He would have turned 451 years old last week and the fact that he’s still impacting the lives of people (young and old) is pretty darn impressive!

So to kick off this blog post, here are some things that Team C has learnt about The Bard and his work.

Communicating with the audience

With 3 plays swimming in our heads it was a bit tricky as first to fully let the language take effect. Then, as we’ve settled into the shows and really started playing, this is one thing that I’m particularly having fun with.
Shakespeare writes his work to be spoken and played, to be directed at people and to be responded to. The way I approached it at first was to shy away from the language and try to ‘act’ everything which stifled me.
As the tour has progressed I’ve found that the more the audience is given access to the language, the more the play works on them. For example in an aside or a soliloquy to the audience, if you don’t really communicate with them – the next part of the plot (that the aside or soliloquy foreshadows) falls short. It is often as much of a dialogue with the audience as it is with the other person onstage.

Don’t judge your character

Within the first few seconds of meeting someone, we often quickly make up our minds about what we think of them – the same can be said for characters in a play or novel. It’s a rushed conclusion in real life as it for the characters in a play.
The best thing Shakespeare has done is to not judge his characters – he never paints them in a ‘good’ light or a ‘bad’ light – they just are what they are. Like people. They have their flaws and they have their redeeming qualities. Increasingly, I’ve realised through the tour that that’s what makes his work relevant and playable even so many years after his death. Even though they speak a different version of the English we speak today – they’re just people like us, trying to make meaning of their life and get along in the world in a way they think is best.shakespeare

There’s definitely still more to mention but I’ll keep it short(ish).

Big love,

Team C


Darwin bound!

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After finishing our first tour break, in which we had a fairly relaxing week at Bell Shakespeare headquarters in Sydney, Team Ariel have officially landed in Darwin. The weather is sweltering and the flora is green. Fresh out of the wet season, Darwin is beautiful and lush; however, several locals have already warned us to BEWARE OF CROCODILES! There are many signs around the area warning not to swim with the ferocious dinosaurs. We hadn’t planned to, but it’s nice to know the dos and don’ts.

We performed two cracking shows at the hospitable Taminmin College in Humpty Doo (the best-named town in Australia) and from that came my QUESTION OF THE DAY:

How would a student living in Darwin get into acting?

There is no ‘correct’ path to follow to pursue acting. No matter whether you live in Sydney, Darwin or anywhere, everyone’s career path is different. It’s important to remember that, and to remember not to compare yourself to anyone else. You can, and will, carve your own path.
I think involving yourself in theatre is a great way to nurture an interest in acting. Going to see theatre is a great way to learn, and develop a critical eye. Also, doing classes inside and outside of school helps too. Do some research online and search for some acting classes in the local area. If acting classes are scarce and there isn’t a lot to get involved in, get a group of friends together that share your passion for acting and put on a play yourselves! Tell your friends and family about it, and get some people to come along. In doing this, you’re cultivating skills in acting, producing, directing, marketing and ensemble building, as well as other skills that are invaluable to an artist. Last of all, make sure you read plays and acting books. Lots of them.

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After the shows we decided we would go and check out one of the most hotly anticipated sights in Darwin, the Litchfield National Park. We were told this was the spot. It has waterfalls and walking trails, ponds, and native flora and fauna as far as the eye can see. On the way there, we saw a sight we hadn’t seen ever in our lives. We found a ‘130km/ph’ speed sign. I didn’t know these existed, and neither did the guys, so naturally we stopped to get some evidence, before doing some legal speeding.


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After driving really fast for a while, we turned off the main road and approached Litchfield Park. The soil that flanked the road, as we drove, was as red as you could hope to see in the Australian outback. It wasn’t until we saw that that we realised how far from home we were, and special it was to be there. Before we knew it, we had arrived at Buley Rockhole.

Pic 3After we had spend a good while swimming and jumping off whatever high rocks we could find, we packed up our gear and started the hour and a half journey back to Darwin city, but not before Cameron and I spotted a rather large and fascinating Goanna crawling along the rocks. The little guy (not actually that little) shuffled across our towels and shoes before having a quick sip of water and heading back up the rocks. It was quite the sight.

What an incredible week we have ahead in Darwin! Watch this space for more updates as we make our way across the country!

— Sam P (Team Ariel)

And so it begins…

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The Players are officially on the road! While Team A has been travelling north, Team C have spent the past few weeks touring Sydney schools in western Sydney then winding their way down south. It’s early days, but I reckon we’ve already picked up a few pearls of wisdom about touring.

1. When checking into a new place, each team member will have different priorities. Respect them all equally. In our case, Jake hits the gym, Amy explores the sofa/cushion situation, Shiv sources food and I get the bath running ASAP.

2. Make friends with the locals. From the lady who runs the candle store to the waiter serving your brekky to the guitarist providing mood music for your tense pool game, these guys know where to find the best coffee/ Vietnamese food/ snorkeling spots/ second-hand bookstores. Plus, they know all the town goss.

3. It is always, always a good idea to do karaoke at the pub.

4. Speaking of music, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and Dire Straits are the ideal accompaniments to driving through the rolling green hills of Kiama.
Run the Jewels is good too.

5. Some schools will offer you tea, coffee and biscuits. This will make you happy. Then you’ll go to Jamberoo Public School and be presented with a carton of free-range eggs from their very own chooks, wrapped in fancy gold paper. This will make you happy times one thousand and cause an impromptu photo shoot of the team holding eggs in various ways. It will end when one of you puts one in your mouth and accidentally bites into it.

6. Car snacks are essential. The key is to provide an equal variety of savoury and sweet. In an emergency, an ice cream from the servo works well.

7. Getting momentarily lost can be a n ice thing, so don’t panic. If you’re lucky, the unexpected detour down Swamp Road will provide ample cow sightings and you’ll even have to stop to let a family of fluffy baby ducks and their mum cross the road. Cute!

8. Pack lightly. Ask yourself: do you really need to bring three heavy books? Maybe two pairs of shoes is enough, you’re not going to go running anyway, who are you kidding?

9. Do bring small things that can make your room feel cosy. A little candle and some fluffy socks can make a big difference.

10. Pinch yourself every day – especially on those sweaty three-show days where everyone’s a bit tired and you keep catching your fingers in the road cases. Never take it for granted how lucky you are to have such an incredible job.

— Lucy (Team C)