Bones Made Flesh

 

Background

Bones Made Flesh is the second part of the work of The AfterShakespeare Collaboration, and here we turn the focus directly away from his literary output, instead exploring how the findings of the Shakespeare Bones  work can inform new theatre forms and plays.

 

This stream of new plays and Theatre practices responds also to the world around, again in the same way as Shakespeare was affected by:

"Taking as a given truth Richard Eyre’s statement that Shakespeare gave us the DNA of our Theatre, how then can it best be passed down the line to firstly give new and sustainable life to his own work, and secondly to create new work that is inspired, influenced by, or flows out from the tradition Shakespeare worked in?"

 

New Plays

Writing sequels to Shakespeare's original plays and creating plays that draw on Shakespeare's life are a good way of re-ordering Shakespeare's Bones i.e. creating completely new works that utilise the raw material (or DNA) that Shakespeare passed down to us:- 

 

  • The sequels allow us to use the original play's themes, characters and words, thus perpetuating Shakespeare's legacy. However in doing so, we are also allowed to subvert them, as determined by the 'givens' of the new play's setting, which makes the audience question their original assumptions.
  • When we start to link what we know about Shakespeare's life with what we find in his plays a rich seam of creative energy is unleashed. Aspects of his life inform the works he created, and to a degree vice versa.

 

What links all the new plays are:-

 

  • Shakespeare’s original words and characters feature strongly throughout
  • New words are written to blend in with / complement the original words
  • Major themes from the original are re-explored but from very different angles
 

The AfterShakespeare sequels to the original Shakespeare plays are:-

 

The Killing of Queen Gertrude (2017)
King Lear (alone)
Ophelia, Princess of Denmark
Tempest Fugit / Prospero's Will
Macbeth Killing Time 
Romeo & Juliet for all Time
 

The AfterShakespeare plays that explore the life and works of Shakespeare to date are:-

 
Time Out of Joint
Shakespeare's Dream (or Time After Time)
 

If you would like a full selection of Play reviews and audience comments, please click here

 

For more details about the performance of these plays, please click here.

 

What our AfterShakespeare work to date has uncovered

 

  • It is possible to write new words in such a way that they do not detract from, or jar with, the accompanying Shakespeare words
  • Each of the plays in this section have been able to present themes and character developments that complement those that are found in the original plays but are at the same time sufficiently different
  • In time audiences of the LivingShakespeare plays may well be motivated to revisit the original Shakespeare plays, thus helping to keep his work alive
  • A whole new format of play is available to audiences that is very different to that of the original plays; they are shorter in length, have all characters on stage throughout, and are less plot-driven. 

The Sequels

In 2017 we hope to deliver the next of our new plays - Queeen Gertrude. This is a one-woman play that focuses on the the character of Gertrude, Hamlet's mother and Claudius' wife. We get her perspective on not only the events of the play Hamlet but also other themes, such as how women throughout time can be marginalised in the world, our views on death and life which are to be found in the original play. More details to follow will be posted on this website when they are available.

 

Here is a summary of the AfterShakespeare plays we have created to date.

King Lear (alone)

Shakespeare’s play, adapted by Edinburgh Fringe award-winning playwright Frank Bramwell. Was Shakespeare right to kill off King Lear at the end of his play? As our starting point we take Kent’s question at the end of the play: “Is this the Promised End?”

Below is a selection of quotes from Reviews and Audience Feedback; 

2016 GM Fringe, Camden Fringe

"I left the theatre feeling like I’d been exposed to a flawed individual at their most honest – and that honesty is something as terrifying, courageous and honourable as ruling a nation..... the outstanding performance of Bob Young and Bramwell’s truthful presentation of humanity was well worth the watch." 

"King Lear (Alone) is a gripping production and the formidable performance given by Bob Young makes it compelling viewing." 

"Bob Young in the title role, is a powerful performer. His tormented character takes shape thanks to his profound voice, whilst his presence on stage appears carefully studied..... In Bob Young's poignant (portayal), the play is quite intense. It's ground-breaking angle will definitely appeal to the culture vultures.” 

2015 Birmingham Fest, Buxton Festival Fringe

"The production gives an insight into the inner thoughts and feelings of King Lear, exploring the role from the perspective of both an audience and an actor and goes into the heart of the character.

 

"Frank Bramwell directed well using all the space that the Old Joint Stock Theatre provides. Bramwell made excellent use of the dark and eerie atmosphere with slow music as a background to Lear’s speeches throughout the production. General blocking and the ideas behind Lear’s actions were well thought out."

 

"Bob Young, as Lear, gave a strong and nuanced performance, particularly given that he had to stand in late for the original actor. Being alone contributes to the nihilism, as well as the sense that Lear may be solely responsible for his tragic downfall. King Lear (Alone) gives the audience much to think about, with rich symbolism in an engaging interpretation."

 

Romeo & Juliet for all Time

Romeo & Juliet For all Time-a sequel to the original tragedy, and its performances in Buxton Festival Fringe earned it a nomination of Best Writing Award. Next, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, with 2 four-star reviews and then a Hairline Highlight Award for being one of the top ten plays that stood head and shoulders above other reviewed plays. Revived at the Old Joint Stock Theatre Birmingham July 2012.

Below is a selection of quotes from Reviews and Audience Feedback; 

 

2012 Old Joint Stock Theatre

2004 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Buxton Fringe Festival, Birmingham Fringe Festival

​"The playwright, Frank Bramwell, has struck on a very clever idea and created an intelligently written play which luckily never slips into an English Literature style discussion. An amusing and moving performance."

 

"I don't think I've ever seen such raw energy and physical commitment in a Fringe performance  the audience loved them and showed it enthusiastically at the close."

 

"This was a complex and very clever  new look at the play. Take your sharpest wits with you, and listen carefully, but also be prepared to be carried along by the pace, skill and style of the presentation."

 

"Its very rare for our staff to be so united in their glowing praise of a Fringe Show  but all those who saw it were stunned, and everyone unable to make it this time was very disappointed to have missed out. James, the venue manager, genuinely rated your show among the top six Fringe shows he has seen in his decade working at the Festival. An outstanding show, overall it was both a pleasure and an honour to have Romeo & Juliet For All Time in our venue."

 

Ophelia, Princess of Denmark

Ophelia, Princess of Denmark-Ophelia is mad. And dead. And trapped in time with Hamlet and Claudius, who seem to have a little problem re-adjusting to their changed circumstances. A play that re-examines the themes and issues that Shakepeare raised in his original play - and some that he didn't.

Below is a selection of quotes from Reviews and Audience Feedback; 

2012 Old Joint Stock Theatre

​“It stands as an imaginative, fairly free-wheeling response to the original, in which the delight exists in the exploration itself and in the spirit of invention.”

“The relationships between Hamlet, Ophelia, Claudius and others, various, are taken apart and differently examined; the play put me in mind of the mathematical discipline of permutations and combinations. Debates within the play are both serious and playful.”

“Sharp performances from the three actors. Rebecca Rogers creates with great naturalness; Ben Norris’s Hamlet has great charm.”

 

Tempest Fugit / Prospero's Will

Tempest fugit:Prospero's Will is based on The Tempest, the third in the line of Frank Bramwell's specially written plays to re-energise Shakespeares plays. Prospero is marooned on the magical Island, and is soon joined by Caliban, Ariel, Miranda and Ferdinand, there follows a deep exploration of the original plays inner workings as we go through Prosperos mind.

Below is a selection of quotes from Reviews and Audience Feedback; 

2006 Greenwich Playhouse, London

"Very imaginative idea! I was very impressed with this performance."

 

"All of the performances were excellent."

 

"Congratulations on a most imaginative production with excellent performances by the cast. Bring more of these ideas to Greenwich or, at least, to London."

 

"Well worth catching, an absolute gem! The time certainly flew by!"

 

". . . when it comes to Shakespeare "re-written" I get very sceptical. But I was proven wrong as Heart Productions pulled out all the stops and the audience was treated to a delicious journey through Prospero's messed-up mind."
 

“I went to see this play not knowing what to expect, and I was most impressed with everything I saw. As well as committed, talented actors, all aspects of the production greatly added to the whole evening's entertainment.


"The play itself is a wonderful re-exploration of Shakespeare's original, from a totally different perspective."

 

Macbeth Killing Time

Macbeth Killing Time-is in the same mould as Romeo and Juliet For all Time - this time Macbeth, who has been waiting for 400 years, is tried for the crimes of the original tragedy by two jobbing Angels, Kramm and Delos. The plays were awarded three and four stars by reviewers.

Below is a selection of quotes from Reviews and Audience Feedback;

2005 Edinburgh Fringe Festival

". . . a strong piece of Theatre. The mix of the Bards script and Frank Bramwells words works well here and is helped by the enthusiastic actors."

 

"Frank Bramwell's play, however, is that very rare bird, a genuinely unusual take on the play, which remains true to the spirit (and the words) of the original whilst making us question our assumptions about it."

 

"It's a very original and clever piece of work . . . very compelling and, at times, even amusing . . "

 

“Excellent, evocative, emotional, real, entertaining!”

 

“This production was not as expected, not dreary Shakespeare but a fine twist by Bramwell. Excellent production for the fringe.”

 

“ . . . a beautiful play, beautifully performed.”

Shakespeare's Life & Works

 

The emphasis here is to explore Shakespeare's creative process by using his own words and characters, as well featuring aspects of the life and mind of the man himself.

 

To date we have produced two plays:-

 

  • Shakespeare's Dream (or Time After Time)
  • Time Out of Joint

 

Below are the production details of those plays that have been performed to date:-

 

Time Out of Joint

Will Shakespeare is alone, desperately trying to finalise the script of Hamlet. During the long night-time hours he has two female visitors; one is the Dark Lady of his sonnets, the other is a 'mere milkmaind' who was his first ever love. These muses provide him with rather more dramatic inspiration than he bargains  for . . . 

Below is a selection of quotes from Reviews and Audience Feedback; 

2009 Edinburgh Fringe Festival

"What this play is very good at doing is raising an intrigued eyebrow. It constantly suggests possible inspirations for moments of Shakespeare's plots (I think all from 'Hamlet') and even certain turns of phrase."

 

"If you want to get an inside look at the trouble and turmoil swirling around in William Shakespeare’s head, look no further than the brilliantly conceived Time out of Joint premiering at the Edinburgh Festival."

 

"An absolute must-see for any Shakespeare fan or writer who’s ever had an encounter with writer’s block"

 

Time After Time

Time after Time was our very first production. Using a mixture of Shakespeare's original words and new ones written for the piece, the play was a glorious romp through the night-time dreams of William Shakespeare.

Below is a selection of quotes from Reviews and Audience Feedback; 

2004 ARC Arts Centre

​"Overall Time After Time is a superb, delightful production."

 

“Shakespeare’s great creations are forever being interpreted from a new angle, transmuted by the light of innovation."

 

“Time after Time” constitutes the underlying theme of Frank Bramwell’s strongly-researched and excellently presented production, which provokes a plethora of thoughts and dreams.”

 

“An excellent and beautiful setting for an extraordinary and fascinating production.”

 

“Thoroughly enjoyed everything about the performance.”

 

“You have inspired my Shakespearean studies.”

 

“Very clever and integrated famous quotes / references well.”

 

“Overall it was a really enjoyable performance and certainly deserves to be seen by a bigger audience”

 

© 2017 the AfterShakespeare Collaboration