Cardenio trailer

Date: 2011
Posted by: theRSC
Cast: Oliver Rix (Cardenio)
Credits: Not given (but from theatre production directed by Gregory Doran)
Duration: 0.56

We haven’t included many theatre trailers here on BardBox, but the chance to include something on Shakespeare’s lost play Cardenio is not one to miss. Of course, Cardenio remains very much lost, but a play by Lewis Theobald said (without any clear evidence to back this up) to have been based on the the lost manuscript, The Double Falsehood; Or, The Distrest Lovers, was produced in 1727 and was optimistically included in the Arden Shakspeare in 2010. Now this has been adapted by Gregory Doran for the Royal Shakespeare Company and billed as Cardenio for audiences in 2011. It’s more marketing than theatrical archaeology, one may think, but of course we will want to see for ourselves rather than have the pleasure withheld from us.

The RSC has issued this teaser trailer, and it is fascinating. Just a minute long, it uses the visual (and the aural) to make up for the limitations for the verbal. The words are spoken as being filled with Shakespearean insight and moment, which they rather lack on the printed page. But it is the sounds of the words that matters, not their import. They sound like Shakespeare is supposed to sound, blended as they are with noises that conjure up an imminent storm with background effects denoting disturbance. While all of this is going on our attention is focussed on the sight of Cardenio oppressed by thought, turning to the camera for just a second, to give a look full of reproachfulness and dread, before the title of the play comes up. What comes next? You’ll have to go and see. Cardenio may be a double falsehood in itself, but it can be made to look and sound like Shakespeare, with the help of the camera. It feeds on our expectations. It makes us want to look deeper, brief as the trailer may be. It’s the perfect tease.

Gregory Doran’s production of Cardenio runs at the Swan Theatre, Stratford from 14 April – 6 October 2011.

Gregory Doran’s Cardenio blog
RSC page on Cardenio
YouTube page

Romeo & Juliet

Date: 2008
Posted by: ylpiaocai
Cast: Ben Cunis (Romeo), Courtney Pauroso (Juliet)
Credits: Produced by SilhouetteFilm. Stage production directed by Paata Tsikurishvili, choreography by Irina Tsikurishvili
Duration: 2.26

A trailer for a production of Romeo and Juliet by Synetic Theater, the company founded by Paata and Irina Tsikurishvili which specialises in silent interpretations of the classics. Its theatre production have included Hamlet, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Romeo and Juliet, as well as several non-Shakespearean works. They describe their work thus:

Synetic Theater seeks to advance and enrich the theater arts through presentation and education in its unique performance style of a synthesis of the arts, fusing the classical elements of drama, movement, dance, mime, and music into a distinct form of non-realistic theater.

In truth the result seems to be ballet as much as anything, but it is vivid theatre nonetheless, with its heart lying in silent cinema quite as much as in dance. Unlike many theatre trailers, the video reflects the essence of the theatrical experience.

Synetic Theater
YouTube page

7 Ages

Act I – Intro/The Infant

Date: 2008
Posted by: SuperMegaActionPlus
Credits: Produced by Andrew Smaje, handmade by SuperMegaActionPlus
Cast: none
Duration: 2.25

This is the first of a series of seven trailers produced for the 2008 Unplugged Shakespeare festival at the Theatre Royal Bath, each dedicated to one of the ‘seven ages’ from Jacques’ speech in As You Like It. The video production company behind the series describes its work thus:

Our brief was to create a silent short film for each of the seven ages of man from the ‘All the world’s a stage…’ speech in ‘As You Like It’. Each film had to appeal to its featured age group, and work as both a silent film (to be shown in shop windows around Bath during the festival) and with audio for a showing at our local independent cinema, the Little Theatre Cinema, Bath.

The videos are dynamic amalgams of animation, cut-out images, archive film, performance, sounds and wry references to Shakespeare’s words, giving them a stylish contemporary twist. They are well worth checking in their widescreen through the direct YouTube links below (or see the higher resolution copies, hosted by Vimeo, available on the SuperMegaActionPlus site – they look terrific full screen). The opening video (above) introduces the ‘seven ages’ theme before a brief but imaginative take on infancy as the first age. Each ‘age’ in the series is then expressed in a different visual style, from computer games (The Schoolboy) to rap (The Soldier) to total silence (The Pantaloon). Marvellous stuff, which just goes to show how much of an inspiration Shakespeare is to the creative filmmaker. Be sure to catch them all.

Act I: Intro/The Infant (2.25 mins)
Act II: The Schoolboy (2.48 mins)
Act III: The Lover (6.38 mins)
Act IV: A Soldier (3.35 mins)
Act V: The Justice (2.57 mins)
Act VI: The Pantaloon (6.02 mins)
Act VII: Sans (4.37 mins)
SuperMegaActionPlus site
SuperMegaActionPlus’s Vimeo pages

the tragedie of othello IV.1

Date: 2008
Posted by: ishakespeare
Credits: Directed by William Mann
Cast: William Mann (Othello), Christopher Lynch (Iago)
Duration: 3.18

More intensity from the Chamber Shakespeare Company, or ishakespeare (see previous post on the Company’s Hamlet), this time with two video extracts from its stage production of Othello. In othello’s perspective we experience a flat-toned Iago tormenting Othello, who is holding the camera. So we witness Othello’s fevered despair by seeing it literally from his point of view. While the kneeling Iago is all stillness, Othello ranges about all over the place, the mobile camera incoherently taking in floor, ceiling, lights, darkness, Iago. The result is barely audible, and certainly not all that intelligible as the recording of a stage performance, but it works well in the form of an experimental video, where the world that this Othello sees – that is, the theatre in which he is performing – turns into a bewildering mélange of colours, shapes and indistinct sounds as his own world collapses about him.

Date: 2008
Posted by: ishakespeare
Credits: Directed by William Mann
Cast: William Mann (Othello), Christopher Lynch (Iago)
Duration: 3.55

The video’s companion piece is iago’s perspective. Now we see the same action from Iago’s point of view (clearly not filmed at the same time, since Othello carries no camera). From Iago’s eyes we look down on Othello writhing upon the ground. Grainy, out of focus for much of the time, with Iago’s drab tones off-camera, the result is arguably not Iago’s perspective at all but rather another way of looking at Othello’s inner anguish. It is more conventional than the first video, but together the two pieces raise all sorts of interesting questions on how theatre may be filmed, what it means to film theatre, and how the camera – one way or another – is always a performer. In the final ‘shot’ (the whole video, as with the first, is one take), Iago pans round to film himself in a mirror and tells us, “I hate the Moor”.

othello’s perspective YouTube page
iago’s perpective YouTube page
Chamber Shakespeare Company

the tragedie of hamlet

Date: 2008
Posted by: ishakespeare
Credits: Directed by William Mann
Cast: William Mann (Hamlet), Christopher Lynch (Horatio)
Duration: 8.21

The Chamber Shakespeare Company (also known as the ishakespeare company) describes itself as a

not-for-profit artistic collaborative to research and explore the possible application of mythic and symbolic theatre traditions, such as Greek Tragedy, Japanese Noh and Ta’ziyeh, to productions of the work of William Shakespeare.

The Company takes a ‘minimalist’ approach, with an emphasis on bare staging, multi-part casting and ritualistic presentation, with the intention of creating production which are not constrained by social and cultural boundaries.

The Company is in the process of filming its productions, but the sample videos that it has published on YouTube are of a more experimental in kind, constructed as exercises in style. In chamber hamlet I.2 + I.5, Hamlet learning of the ghost’s existence from Horatio is depicted in blurred and grainy close shots, with handheld shots framed as best they can to Hamlet’s face as he moves about the small ‘stage’, Horatio’s calm voice off-camera. The result is intense and not always easy to look at (an entire production filmed this way would be unbearable) or, at times, to hear. But as an attempt to present a mind becoming disordered it is effective, and might be argued to be more successful in depicting a stateless Hamlet than the original staging would have achieved, with all the distracting reality of the ‘theatre’. They have recognised that film changes as it records, and have let the camera dictate the action, with hallucinatory results.

Date: 2008
Posted by: ishakespeare
Credits: Directed by William Mann
Cast: William Mann (Hamlet), Christopher Lynch (Player 1), Hayley Roberts (Player 2)
Duration: 4.11

In this second video extract, chamber hamlet II.2, two players put on a performance for Hamlet of the slaughter of Priam by Pyrrhus during the fall of Troy. The dramatic style is that of Japanese Noh theatre, while the low position of the virtually static camera recalls the methods of film director Yasujirō Ozu (the camera being like an unacknowledged third person seated in a typical Japanese setting). Poor sound recording, however, dims the impact.

See also the Company’s video interpretation of Othello
hamlet I.2 + I.5 YouTube page
hamlet II.2 YouTube page
Chamber Shakespeare Company