Interview: Troilus and Cressida
Troilus and Cressida has been described as one of Shakespeare’s ‘problem plays’. What say you? Chris and Lewis (Directors): It’s a fair observation. Until the 1960s many termed it Shakespeare’s […]
Troilus and Cressida has been described as one of Shakespeare’s ‘problem plays’. What say you?
Chris and Lewis (Directors): It’s a fair observation. Until the 1960s many termed it Shakespeare’s ‘unperformable play’. Both comedy and tragedy, people have been unsure what to do with it. Some even believe that Shakespeare wrote Troilus during a post-Hamlet breakdown, and was in two minds about it himself. However, we have found these discrepancies to be beneficial, providing all the laughs of As You Like It and the blood, gore and tragedy of Macbeth. One of Shakespeare’s lesser performed plays, it’s a must see for any who considers themselves a fan of the bard and a game changer for those who don’t.
Alex Levine (Troilus): I can see why it is called a ‘problem play’. Structurally, it can seem a bit haphazard or even confusing. However, Chris and Lewis have done such a good job of making the characters memorable and the themes constant that this isn’t a problem. In addition, the premise of the Trojan War is a familiar one to anybody with a university education so characters like Hector, Achilles, Ulysses, Helen and Paris will be familiar.
Emily Grant (Producer): I don’t see it so much as a problem but a challenge—and I think it’s a challenge that Chris and Lewis have really done well with. The original text is really crazy and confusing but working around that has given Chris and Lewis a lot of opportunity to explore the story and the language and bring their own ideas to the table. And what they’ve brought to the table is pretty awesome.
I’ve heard tales of onstage sexual intrigue. How true are these allegations?
Chris and Lewis: Shakespeare should be raunchy, come see the show.
Has this production been relocated in a particular time zone?
Chris and Lewis: One of the wonderful and enduring things about Shakespeare is his almost universal applicability. We’ve gone for a blending of various time periods, reflecting both the joys and horrors of love and war.
Is there anything particular about this play that you think will speak to St Andrews students?
Alex Levine: I don’t know if the play has any specific elements that relate directly to St Andrews students, but then again, neither does Hamlet, or the Bible, or Django Unchained.
Marian Firke (Patroclus): Things about the play that will speak to St Andrews students: they’ve been at war for 10 years–imagine the sexual frustration.
Calder Hudson (Myrmidon): Troilus and Cressida is sort of like the Union; there’s a power struggle revolving around debauchery, but in the end the only winner is syphilis.
Chris and Lewis: In terms of speaking to St Andrews students, take your pick: sex, drugs and smooth jazz, love in adversity, war, betrayal and STIs all feature highly.
Troilus and Cressida is coming to The Union, Venue 1, on February 18th and 19th at 7pm, and Feb 20th at 5pm, for just £5.