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Interview with our lovely cast

Do you have a favourite scene/sone1bc6cf7-a10c-4872-a620-fc0609fcb4efg?

Zoe: The rap battle and when Max says “sorry, did I stutter?’

Angus: Resident sever whiner – I’m not in it I just find it really fun to watch! Out of the scenes I’m in though I like when I first speak and I get to shout at Max

Megan: Resident server whiner – Wilkie and Dan are really funny, especially when Dan changes his voice from old to young

Hannah: The rap battle and “did I stutter?”

How are you feeling about the performances?

Megan and Zoe: Nervous but after the tech run and dress rehearsal I’m sure we’ll all be a lot more confident

Jaz: I’m excited I think it’s going to look really good

What have you enjoyed about being a part of the classics play?

Eliza: Getting to meet a lot of other classics students, especially as a first year, it means I get to meet people in other years.

Jaz: The rehearsals have been really fun and Kelsi has been an amazing director – she’s really taken on board everyone’s ideas

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What made you want to be a part of the play?

Theo: I’ve done it for three years and I just think it’s a great way to get involved in the society.

Lucy: Its such a great way to meet new people and get involved in the society in a different way. I’ve also been in it the last 2 years and I’ve found it really fun both times

Zoe: I’ve never done it before but I’m in my final year so I figured I’ve got to do it this year

Angus: During the society fair I went up to the classics stand and heard there was going to be a play and I said I want in as I love musical theatre

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What do you think of your costumes?

Zoe: I love the frog leggings

Megan: The makeup looks really cool and the makeup artists did a really good job

Megan and Jenny: Apart from the swimming caps I love them

Hannah and Jaz: The green looks a lot better than I thought it would

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Interview with the Classics President, Hannah Thorpe

Why do you think the Classics Play is such an important event within the Classics Society?

The Classics Society’s annual Ancient play is our greatest engagement opportunity. It offers Classics Society members the chance to engage not only with the wider university community, but with the local community and beyond! It also brings together people who share a common interest in Ancient theatre, regardless as to whether they have any previous experience with it. After all, the Classics Society isn’t only for Classics students; it’s for any Warwick students who would like to join us! Theatre composes a huge aspect of Warwick student life, yet our collaboration with the Classics Department means that our Ancient play is unique on campus. It allows anyone the prospect of getting involved in a production informed by professional academics, and then performed in a professional capacity. The society truly is delighted to open its arms to anyone who wants to take part in this exciting project. Ultimately, the Classics Play is a beautifully exemplifies one of our core values – the Classics Society is for anyone and everyone!

 

As a 3rd year, you were at Warwick for both Antigone and Medea, what did you think of the plays and what are you looking forward to about Frogs?

Sadly, I have yet to be in the audience for the previous two plays. I was either on stage or behind the scenes, so I am incredibly excited that I will be watching Frogs this year! I adore musical comedy, and the transition this year’s production has seen away from the past two years of tragedy is a welcome one. Not only am I thrilled at the prospect of getting to giggle away in the audience, but I am even more so thrilled that I will get to cheer my friends on as they perform! Perhaps, I’ll even try to sing along to some of the songs! (I apologise in advance to anyone who will be sitting within earshot of me).

 

Have you ever been involved in any of the Classics plays yourself and if so what did you enjoy about being part of them?

For 2017’s Antigone I was a chorus member, and for 2018’s Medea I was the Company Stage Manager. I am very grateful to have been able to experience being both a cast and crew member, and must say I enjoyed both equally! However, both brought different things to the table. Antigone was put on in my first year and so helped me to get to know the society very well (and very quickly)! By the time Medea rolled around, I was settled comfortably into student and society life and so relisted getting properly stuck in helping the Director and Producer behind the scenes. The comradery that is fostered when you work as part of a team like this (either as a cast or crew member) is second to none. So much so, I can honestly say that some of my fondest memories have been born from these past two productions. Especially, all those times we spent dancing to the production soundtracks backstage!

 

How do you think the play helps Warwick to engage with the local community and why do you think it’s important to make Classics relevant to younger audiences?

The study of Classics is something deeply beneficial, yet increasingly out of reach for school-age children. A Classical education equips students with sophisticated thinking skills, and a greater appreciation for the world around us and its history. The charity ‘Classics For All’ does a wonderful job in fighting a good cause in the promotion and facilitation of Classics’ teaching in schools across the country. It is our pleasure to join the fight, and collaborate with the Classics Department in providing school children with free tickets to see the Classics Play. We have two performance days, with one of those days being put on entirely free of charge to schools and supplemented by lectures from the Classics Department. Schools both local and further afield travel to Warwick to benefit from this opportunity, and we are delighted to host them each year. We too are delighted to invite the local community to come and see the play on our other performance day. We strive to make the play as accessible as possible, through measures such as the performance being in English rather than Ancient Greek or Latin. We also perform on campus, which has easy transportation links across Coventry and Warwickshire. Not only do we want to make Classics accessible and relevant to as many audiences as we can, but we also want to make it enjoyable! A night out at the theatre is something I would certainly never turn down, especially when I could bring my family and friends! For entertainment is a brilliant way to connect people, and I steadfastly believe that our public performance day will help us facilitate an even better relationship with our local community.

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Interview with our two leading actors, Hamish (Dionysus) and Wilkie (Xanthias)

B65C545E-83A5-47A7-944F-03E55903C6D9What made you audition for Dionysus/Xanthias?

Hamish: I am in third year currently and had never been involved in the play, yet always heard it was good fun. When I found out this year we were performing a musical comedy I wanted to get involved as it’s my favourite type of theatre and I enjoy comedic acting, even if I’m not sure about my musical ability. I never expected to get a major part but auditioned for one because it gave me a chance to sing/rap You’re Welcome from Moana in the audition and never pass up a chance to do that. When I got the part I was genuinely terrified and convinced someone had made a mistake.

Wilkie: After being in Medea last year I knew I wanted to be in the Classics Play again, and I auditioned for Xanthias mostly because I wanted to play a more comedic character, especially since comic plays don’t get put on much at Warwick. Also I knew I wanted to sing Zero to Hero from Disney’s Hercules for my audition and I thought a more comedic character would fit that song.

Do you have a favourite scene? If so why?

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Hamish: My personal favourite scene is when Dionysus, while dressed as Hercules, is confronted by two hotel owners Hercules cheated when he was last in Hades. One of the owners goes ballistic and almost attacks Dionysus and has to be restrained, allowing for some physical comedy. Not only is the scene very funny but the director’s instructions to me here were: “Be as pretentious and condescending as you possibly can.” And every time we perform this scene I take enormous pleasure in doing just that.

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Wilkie: I do enjoy the scene where Aecus whips Dionysus and myself, it’s just such a fun and ridiculous scene and I can’t wait to do it in front of an audience. I also love my song and any scene where I get to interact with the audience.

 

 

What do you think the characterisation of Dionysus and Xanthias add to the comedy?

Hamish: Dionysus is portrayed in the play as stuck up, idiotic and childlike, to use nicer words.
This means that Dionysus becomes the butt of a number of jokes, but also almost everything he does has some comedic element to it. It is true he grows and develops as a person/god over the course of the play, but he never entirely shakes off these qualities and is thus always entertaining.

Wilkie: I play Xanthias as an incredibly metatheatrical character, always looking to the audience for support, and the fact that they are always in on his jokes makes his character and the play as a whole so much more relatable.

How would you describe your character in one sentence?

Hamish: Dionysus is a massive man-child with delusions of brilliance and little sense of his own idiocy… this the reason I was chosen to play the part.

Wilkie: The audience’s best friend.E5ABC746-CCE6-4114-A830-9FD4D6E50B4D

How are you finding the rehearsals and what are you enjoying about being in the play?

Hamish: I am sincerely loving the rehearsals, working out how we will stage each scene and experimenting with different ideas is a very enjoyable process. The cast and crew are great fun to be around and create a genuinely entertaining environment to work in. Moreover, the rehearsals provide an extremely welcome relief from actual work and are a useful excuse for me to not write my dissertation – Unless it is a member of the classics faculty reading this, in which case it’s difficult to fit rehearsing in around all the work I’m doing for my course.

Wilkie: Rehersals are just lots of fun, everyone in the cast is such good friends and it’s so great to get to experience this bonkers play with them all. One thing I love is how open our director Kelsi has been to all of my ideas for Xanthias, which means I get to do a lot of fun stuff on stage.

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Interview with our Producer Tom and the rest of the production team

A massive shout out to all our production team. Everybody’s been working so hard to ensure everything is ready for the big show. This week we’ve spoken to the producer Tom, and our two heads of costume, Jaz and Sarah.

What are your responsibilities as producer?

Tom: My responsibilities as producer are pretty numerous even though a lot of it can just feel like schedule manager. My real job is essentially to make Kelsi’s creative role as Director as easy as possible. In effect this means coordinating with all the

various strands of the show’s fantastic management team to make sure that we’re realizing her vision as effectively and efficiently as possible.

It’s an unpredictable job a lot of the time but there’s something thrilling about being told by Kelsi that there’s nothing left to do…for now. I love it.

And how’s sourcing the props and costumes going?

Tom: Sourcing the props is a tricky task, making sure that everything works well together and that the set feels complete. Holly and Anna definitely have a knack for getting the items that make sense on the stage as well as finding absolutely fantastic bargains. Sarah and Jasmine in Costumes have had to work very hard getting the entire cast all measured for their costumes but they’ve certainly put the hours in. On the creative side too, they’ll spot things when shopping for their own clothes etc. that would fit in with the show- it’s brilliant.

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What are your inspirations for the costumes?

Jaz and Sarah: Kelsi gave us a lot of the ideas to start us off, after that we looked online. Obviously this year, being a comedy, the costumes are a lot of fun and are very out there, with a lot of different colors and patterns going on. The frog chorus has been particularly fun to source the costumes for, as we want everyone to have different styles of the same costume.

 

 

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Interview with director Kelsi Russell

How are rehearsals going so far?

“Rehearsals have been amazing! The cast have been a dream to work with and have really responded well to the comedic text. The scenes we have worked on so far have been full of energy and slapstick humour.” 

How will this year’s play be different?

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Kelsi Hard at Work with Clare and Hamish

“This year is the first time that we have decided to adapt a classical text  into a musical. When reading the Frogs, we felt that the energy and vibrancy of the text leant itself so well to an equally upbeat musical score. This has been a challenge in its self but so far everyone has risen to it and we have produced some amazing songs with the help of Kirk Hastings, our Musical director and composer.” 

Why did you choose the Frogs?

“I chose the Frogs as I felt it would be quite refreshing after performing Greek tragedies for the past two years. Aristophanes text stands out from any other scripts that we have chosen to work with and I felt it would be a good piece to help a young audience engage with the classical world.” 

How did you cast the Play?

“Everyone who auditioned showed amazing potential and talent so it was one of our hardest tasks yet to try and cast each role.”

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Wilkie and Hamish in Rehearsal

“We are now however ecstatic with our two leads Hamish (Dionysus) and Wilkie (Xanthias) who have such great chemistry on stage that really shows in their comedic performance.”

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An Interview With Our Props and Costumes Team

On the day of our final show we have been talking to our props and costumes team; Jess and Beth, to reflect on their process of preparation for the show.

What were your inspirations with costume’s and stage designs? 26943664_1733735480027022_134447312_n
Beth: We wanted to hint to the story of Jason and Medea outside the time of the play itself. For example,  Jason’s golden fleece from his quest being reflected in the design of his wife’s gifts. Then a small boat being shown in the book case to symbolise Medea’s travels from a foreign land.
Jess: We wanted to physicalise Asha’s idea of encroaching nature throughout the show with the branches on stage and flowers on Medea’s dress.

How do you feel the first show went?
Jess: We felt that the stage was very effective, and the cast were able to interact with the props and setting well. I felt very privileged to have my work on the stage and being used practically.

Beth ~ “I was very proud and excited to finally have to audience see our work.”

How did you decide on each of the costumes for the characters?
Jess: We wanted each of the chorus members to be individuals, so to do this we gave them all unique costumes to match the character profiles we had them create. This included the career and even the name they imagined their character to have.
Beth: With Jason and Medea we had the idea of an inverse wedding with sophisticated outfits, and Med26996570_1733741430026427_195878709_nea in white as the bride. We then tried to show the other principle characters as the “wedding guests”.

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An Interview With Our Media Managers

Today we have been talking to our Media managers, Sarah and Kelsi, on the opening night of ‘Medea’. We have been discussing the various social media projects they have been working on throughout the rehearsal process and how they are feeling during the run up to our first show. 

Have you enjoyed working with the cast so far on the show?

26940786_1732452946821942_21219591_nSarah: As classic students, we have enjoyed applying our different skill sets outside of the course to a play that we know and love.

Kelsi: Its been an amazing experience to apply ideas and themes that we have discussed in class to a physical performance on stage.

Kelsi ~ “Its been a privilege to watch the show develop over time into what we can finally show the audience tonight.”

Can you explain the process of developing a social media account and blog to document the rehearsal process?

Sarah: After using WordPress for several years, I decided to help out, creating a website dedicated to the show. I aimed then to create a visual theme, in keeping with our 27042791_1732452943488609_600462697_ndirector’s artistic vision of Medea, with a minimalist style and black and white colour scheme.

Kelsi: I then used this style again with our Instagram account, to ensure all social media was integrated, highlighting the strong themes and aesthetics of the play.

When documenting the process, what were the key aspects of this project you wished to highlight?

Kelsi: I wanted to focus on the development of characters through out the rehearsal process, showing our viewers the depth of characterisation for all the cast. I then wanted to also show the interaction between our creative team and the cast as they progress from the first rehearsal to opening night.

26996158_1732452993488604_827260367_nWhat were your aims in creating the graphic design for the play?

Sarah: I wanted to create a book case which imitated an antique theme, but was still able to be created through Photoshop.

Sarah ~ “We were set on this idea of a bookcase to display the interplay of knowledge and nature, mirrored with the development of Medea’s character.”