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Student Folklore Transforms into Edinburgh Performance

Love and Other Human Tragedy
Love and Other Human Tragedy
Originally Published 28 July 2004

Love and Other Human Tragedy, the student produced folktale book, has been transformed into physical theatre and will soon be presented at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Launched last May, the first ever University of Warwick student book retells tales that once upon a time came from lands far far away from here.

The joint project between the University of Warwick’s Conceptual Art Performance Society (CAP) and the Unite! Theatre Company developed an opportunity for a team of over forty writers, actors, designers and producers to collaborate in a unique exploration of the telling of folktales. Elizabeth Jenner, author of one of the tales, said of the latest adaptations: “The interesting thing about what will happen in Edinburgh will be, for me, seeing how my story is transformed through a different medium. It’s unusual to have this many forms of art in one project”.

The tales, written as short stories, were interpreted and adapted by University of Warwick undergraduates. The premise of the book was to search the roots of story telling. The development of literature once relied upon word of mouth and the human instinct to recount tales. Within every story, though, is a world of possibility and discovery, and these Warwick students have taken familiar and primitive stories and found new ways of telling them – the woman’s view, some poetic prose, and an attempted seduction: love, passion and betrayal. The stage productions will go a little further to open up the untrodden paths!

Alex Parsonage, Artistic Director of Unite! Theatre, and a University of Warwick student, was inspired originally by the illustrations in a book of Grimm fairytales. He aims for the performances to represent the malleability of the traditional story and its modern relevance. The company’s new website shows further the multi-genre possibilities that lie in the tales that have been passed through the generations for a long long time…

Harriet Mann, one of the authors and Producer of the stage production, said: “It’s a great feeling to have your own work be the basis of a project this extensive, and to have our stories published is fantastic!” Furthermore, the project in its finality will have involved over forty people, three original pieces of theatre, five original pieces of writing, publishing and illustration, one regional arts festival and one international arts festival. The plays were premiered at the Warwick Student Arts Festival last term.

Love and Other Human Tragedy will open at the Cowgate Theatre in Edinburgh on August 7th and runs every day at 2.50pm until the end of the Festival. For more information and bookings go to their newly launched website: http://www.unite.org.uk

Taller and taller,
the world seemed to grow smaller with every step
and yet
up, up leapt Lucius, higher and higher
he would not stop ‘til he got to the top
and he was almost there now, yes, not far to go
when –

(Excerpt from Lucius and Silvester by Harriet Mann)