Marjon News

Theatre professor to direct five-day play in Athens

Released: 22.08.16

News - Five Day Play


Marjon’s Dean of the Faculty of Culture & Language Sciences, Professor John Freeman, is joining renowned experts from around the world to direct, rehearse and produce A Midsummer Night’s Dream in just five days, as part of an international theatre festival in Greece.

The 12th International Festival of Making Theatre (August 15- 21, 2016) is a truly unique festival commemorating 400 years since William Shakespeare's death.

Theatre Makers from different parts of the world will contribute as voice, movement, acting and directing teachers realise the production of Shakespeare’s famous play to be performed outdoors in one of the most beautiful central parks in Athens.

Professor Freeman is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and author of numerous published books on theatre and performance, including 'Blood, Sweat & Theory', 'New Performance/New Writing' and 'Remaking Memory'. He will run workshops in ‘Acting as action: objectives, intentions and victories’.

He explained: “Objectives create an essential part of actors' inner lives in imaginary situations; they drive us through the circumstances of scenes by stimulating our imagination; they give us an inner structure, linking the things our characters want through actions; they enable us to react spontaneously to other actors and events and helping to access and release emotions.

“Actors who don’t play objectives will often end up with generalised performances, the type of representational acting that means unconsciously adopting a manner or style, of doing something sadly or eccentrically so that spectators see a ‘sad’ or ‘eccentric’ scene as opposed to the telling of a story through the enactment of action. With Shakespeare's plays, steeped in a history of self-consciously mannered acting, it is all too easy for us to fall into this trap.”

The production goes up in Athens on August 20th and he hopes Marjon acting students will take part in the 2017 project: “The opportunity for our students to work alongside emergent and established professional actors and to be taught by international practitioners is a valuable aspect of benchmarking as well as making a strong contribution to employability.”

The festival project ties in a book Professor Freeman is writing for Palgrave: 'Approaches to Actor Training: International Perspectives'. His background is in contemporary performance practice with a primary focus on postmodern and post-dramatic techniques; he has acted in plays ranging from the world premiere of Edward Bond's 'Jackets' to the Chester Mystery Plays where he played Satan and 'A Midsummer Night's Dream', 'Macbeth' and 'Measure for Measure' for the BBC.  He has directed productions in numerous countries and contexts, often working in immersive and non-traditional venues.

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