The Actors Wheel previewed its production of Feast of Famine to a full house before the start of its international tour this month.
Before doors opened, students prepared themselves amongst an austere set of rubbish sacks and litter. Arms linked in a circle, quietly whispering under dimmed lights, Mark Laville, Director of Movement called to the cast as he counted down the minutes: “Five minutes to house doors, focus in now guys… two minutes to open... stand-by, good luck everyone!”
And so commenced the grotesque aesthetic of a pig-like journey into a dystopian world where a tyrannical glutton is king and a populace of starving pigs survive on crusts.
Feast of Famine was inspired by Percy Bysshe Shelley's 'Swellfoot the Tyrant' and was performed by second year BA (Hons) Acting programme students.
Following the performance, Director Becka McFadden said: “Tonight was a great send-off and a great start to our Greek adventure.
“Shelley’s text speaks with nuance and incisiveness to current issues at play in the UK and across Europe. Questions of widening income disparity, the legitimacy of power and the manipulation of the electorate are as alive and resonant for us as they were for Shelley, all the more so for their persistence from his time to ours.
“What began as an investigation into the performance possibilities of an obscure nineteenth century text never intended for production has become a salient reminder of the theatre’s capacity to engage in productive socio-political dialogue.”
Actor Lucas Emms, 21, from Bath, said after the performance: “I’m relieved. It’s been such a strenuous week where we’ve been rehearsing for eight hours a day and now we can look forward to Greece.”
Lisa Wordsworth, 24, from Plymouth, added: “Keeping the pig-like physicality is really tough, but we think this is a really good piece to take to an international audience.
“Our training been a great experience where we learn so many different theatre techniques and I’m really looking forward to going on tour.”
The Actors Wheel is a professionally produced touring theatre training company. Actors train with the company for three years, touring regionally in the first year, internationally in the second year, while third year students tour the UK.
Training actors also work on other projects including film work in order to gain a degree in acting whilst with the company.
From 22nd March to 1 April, Feast of Famine will be on tour in Greece. For more information visit www.theactorswheel.com.
Preview 19 March 19:30
The Desmond Tutu Theatre
University of St Mark & St John, Plymouth
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22 March, 20:00
Arts Festival 2015
Black Box Theatre, The American College of Greece, Athens
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Special performance in collaboration with the University of the Peloponnese.
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Credits: Devised and performed by: Nathan Benjamin, Tiffany Bird, Siân Cornelius, Deborah Couch, Abigail Cowan, Lucas Emms, Sophie Hook, Ffion Jones, Amber Linney, John James McColl, Connor Reed, Ellanor Ridley, Bethany Shields, Alexander Silcox, Chelsea Vincent, Lisa Webber, Lisa Wordsworth.
Director: Becka McFadden Movement Director: Mark Laville Technical Support: James O’Dowd Production Support: Kevin Johnson
For more information, visit The Actors Wheel www.theactorswheel.com
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