Off the Ground Youth Theatre present
By William Shakespeare
“Vengeance is in my heart, death in my hand, Blood and revenge are hammering in my head”
Off the Ground Youth Theatre is beginning its 20th year with its most ambitious and exciting project to date. On 4th – 6th February twenty-five of the youth theatre’s senior members will be performing Shakespeare goriest tragedy, Titus Andronicus, in Heswall Hall, Wirral.
Off the Ground Theatre started working on the Wirral in 1996 and have produced over a hundred shows, featuring young talent from across Merseyside and the Northwest. Over the last year the youth theatre have worked on a huge outdoor retelling of Lord of the Flies, were only the second company in the country after the RSC to produce the Chinese classic The Orphan of Zhao, and created a piece for Liverpool’s International PhysicalFest, but Titus is set to be a their biggest challenge yet. The group have been working for twelve weeks to create the world of rivalry and revenge that make this play so thrilling.
One of Shakespeare’s first and, without doubt, his bloodiest play, sees the great Roman General, Titus Andronicus, returning from a successful campaign against the Goths. After the sacrificial killing of one of the Goth princes, Tamora, the newly advanced Empress of Rome, silently plots her revenge against the Andronicus family. What follows is a lurid tale of murder, rape, and mutiny; a lot of revenge and a little bit of pie. The role of Aaron, one of Shakespeare’s most evil characters, is being played by Elliott Davies (18). He says, “There is apparently a rape, murder or mutilation, on average, every 91 lines in this play. And with the cuts we’ve made its probably down to about 50 lines. It is a fast-moving, dark play which asks what price we pay for revenge.”
The staging is also seen to be an important part of this production. “We didn’t want to make everything around dark and grimy – after all this is the crème of Roman society – so we have set some of it in an art gallery,” said Jack Saunders (18) who is playing Demetrius. “The fact that the violence takes place in such a refined setting helps reinforce how bloody and brutal it is.”
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