Monday, 12 March 2007

Katy Brooke-Bullard - Agave/Storyteller/Woman/Nymph

Katy also made her storytelling roles highly interesting and engaging, and her and Joe formed a good on-stage relationship that enabled the audience to relate more with these characters. As Agave, her madness was palpable, and again, her pairing with Joe helped greatly. Katy is wonderfully committed and a truely great person to work with.

Katy has acted in "Oleanna" (Directed and Produced by Hannah and Katy) and is a third year English Student.

Joe Watson - Pentheus/Storyteller/Man

Joe mastered his storytelling roles wonderfully - bringing real character to what could be very dull and passionless roles. As Pentheus he wa one of the highlights of the performance, wowing audiences with his bombastic speach and his attention grabbing antics. He was a daring and adventerous member of the team, and a real proffessional.

Joe has also acted in "The Crucible" and "Othello" for Warwick Drama. He is a third year English and Creative Writing student.

Rose Biggin - Myrrha/Echo

Rose made the perfect schoolgirl. And the perfect Echo. She's a brilliant actress, and is really able to grab the attention of the audience for her absurdly long speeches! She's a busy girl, but she worked so hard, and was a brilliant member of the team!

Rose is a first year English and Theatre Studies student. She has also acted in Warwick Drama's "My name is Rachel Corrie".

Tom Steward - Midas/Cynras/Opheltes/Pandion

Tom plays so many parts in this play, and makes them all his own. He is a truely proffessional and highyl talented actor, and it is an absolute honour to work with him. He is wonderful at keeping everyone organised, and can be trusted to always work his absolute hardest. His parts may be fairly small, but they are many, and the grasp that he has on every single one of them is nothing short of genius.

Tom has acted and work at Edinburgh for several years. He acted in "Oleanna" (Directed and Produced by Katy and Hannah). He is a Film Studies PhD student.

Sam Kinchin - Smith - Narcissus/Acoetes/Silenus

Sam is Narcissus.

He is very able to relate to the trials of his characters, and to understand their dilemas. His speach at the end of the play is one of the most moving points of play, and the situation in which he has to give it, is a great show of his acting abilities and his easy grasp of language means he speaks his lines with a gracious ease. He is highly entertaining to work with, and is a dedicated member of the team.

Sam is a first year English and Creative Writing student.

Bruce Dean - Tiresias/Nurse

Bruce played the all knowing, all seeing, blind Tiresias. And the Nurse. He presided over the mythical tales, taking over a great deal of the storytelling. He made what could be quite a tedious character highly interesting and entertaining. As the Nurse, he got the biggest laughs from the audience, and constantly had the cast in fits of laughter in rehearsals!

Bruce is also in many ways a member of the crew - we simply would not have got through this production without his help, and his patience with the shower curtaina dn his knowledge of lighting!

Bruce is a first year Chemistry student.

Sam Smith - Bacchus/Hermaphroditus/Itys

Sam played the menacing, fun loving and debauched God of wine and actors - Bacchus. He presided over his scenes stood high on the bed in a glaring spotlight, his shadow cast dangerously onto the back wall of the set. He spoke his lines with a chishish humour and manipulative innocence, bringing a truely dark side to this often comic figure. Then, as Itys, he got his head ripped off by his Aunt. It is disturbing how quickly Sam could change from playing the God Bacchus to playing a two year old, sucking at his plastic dinosaurs and needing a cuddle from his Mummy!

Sam is a second year English student.

James Marvin - Ted Hughes/Jupiter/Tereus/Lycabus

James played the lead role in "Ovid" to great acclaim; people throughly enjoyed being intimidated, shocked, and moved by his character, who loved his wife, but just couldn't keep his hands to himself, and had a tendancy to turn into a raunchy sailor (as Lycabus!). James treated Hughes' character with great respect and had a very clear understanding of the poet's mindset and motivations in the play.

James has previously been in Warwick Drama's production of "Othello", and is presently starring in "The Winslow Boy", also for Warwick Drama. Interestingly he is seeing another side of the "Ovid" story by playing a character in an Art Centre production of Timberlake's "Love of a Nightingale". James is a second year English and Theatre Studies student.

Friday, 9 March 2007

Gwen Kent - Arachne/Salamacis/Ino

Why hello! I'm Gwen and I'm studying English and Creative Writing. In this particularly delicious production I am transformed into a spider, assist in ripping a man who has been transformed into a boar into pieces, and try to seduce a boy, but end up merging with him and turning into a hermaphrodite - not the best end to a date.

I've been in a number of productions prior to Ovid - mostly ensemble work adapting literature to the stage.

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

Sandra Schira - Semele/Philomela/Autone

Hi, I am Sandra and I am at Warwick University as an exchange student from Germany. Having been part of this play has definetely been one of the most exciting, interesting and unforgettable experiences of my year in England.

I have also been in "No Man's Land" at the Warwick Arts Centre.

Monday, 26 February 2007

Katy Whitehead - Director/ General Thinktank

I have been acting since the age of three and have performed in several venues including The Everyman and Bacon Theatres, Cheltenham; The Bristol Old Vic, and Mountview Theatre Academy, London. Since attending university I have acted in a varied selection of productions, including The Crucible and Othello, and have been workshop coordinator for weekly drama sessions for groups of between 15 and 30 students across disciplines. This is my second production at Warwick as director, the first being Oleanna which played to successful audiences in May 2006. I am currently pursuing my varied interests in literary and cultural theory, sex journalism, board game manufacture and novel writing. I share a house with six other creative writers including four members of the Cast and Crew, and no cats.

Sunday, 25 February 2007

Claire Trevien - Sylvia Plath/Juno/Procne/Minerva

Heya, I'm Claire and my character tremedously enjoys: swinging, having sex, having more sex, transforming Myrrha into a tree, being a lewd sailor, ripping Pentheus to shreds and eating his entrails, burning Semele, weaving, transforming minerva into a spider, being various dirty old women, ripping my lovely son and cooking him, and finally, dying.

I was also in Edinburgh last year with Slingshot Theatre's "The 'It' Girls".

Hayley Clews reviews "Ted Hughes' Ovid", February 2007.

"Where does life end and art begin?" was the question asked by the cast of Ted
Hughes’ Tales from Ovid chose to explore, but the question posed for those
who came to see the play in The Cooler last week seemed more to be “where
does the audience end and the play begin?” Entering into a darkened space
with the lights already up and the actors dancing in intimate couples on
both levels of the stage, it was as if we were intruding late into a
mellow and tranquil scene, an atmosphere which was soon cut by a shout of
pain issued by James Marvin’s Ted Hughes/ Jupiter as his wife Sylvia bites
his lip, setting the scene for the inextricably linked passion and
violence which was to follow.

“Using Tim Supple’s engaging adaptation of Ted Hughes’ Tales from Ovid,
Hannah Pidsley and Katy Whitehead’s production focused on the classic
tragedy that is Ted Hughes’ and Sylvia Plath’s life together. The tales,
based on Ovid’s Metamorphoses, were cleverly transformed into a fantasy
that surrounds the central couple. At the heart of this play was
transformation itself, with the cast of eleven assuming 36 roles, changing
character as many times as their characters changed form. The difficulties
of a production on a tight budget were realising the necessary
transformations in the script as humans change into birds, trees and
flowers. These were realised through simple and stylised gestures; two
branches and a chair symbolised Myrrah’s metamorphosis into a tree,
allowing the audience to concentrate on the look of anguish on her face
rather than her costume.

“The choice of cast appeared flawless and the nature of the play allowed
each member to shine in a prominent role: Sam Smith was especially good as the debauched god Bacchus, playing the part with a listing drunken grace
and jaunty cocked hat. Claire Trevien’s Sylvia/ Juno had a fragility of
mind and movement counter-balanced exactly by James’ violent strength.
Their relationship worked so well as a framing device for the stories that
it would be difficult for anyone who saw the play to see it imagined in
any other way. The passion of the central relationship was brought out not
only in the bed scenes, where the bed was the central object on stage, but
also through violence, as their electrifying relationship turns to
bitterness, resentment and eventually death, demonstrating the shifting identities

and destructive nature of love in it's many forms."

Friday, 23 February 2007

Alexandra Campbell reviews "Ted Hughes' Ovid", February 2007

"I rather hope I’m not the only one who noticed the pleasing aptness of the fact that Codpiece’s latest offering, Ted Hughes’ Ovid, is a play, adapted from Hughes’ poetry, adapted from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. In fact, the text itself appears to have gone through almost as many transformations as the characters it depicts.

"Weaving the domestic and the fantastical to tell the story of Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath’s relationship through the medium of classical mythology seems, if you’ll pardon the phrase, a somewhat epic task, but one that was executed with style and aplomb by both cast and crew.

"Despite not having an Arts Centre budget (which would have been well and truly deserved), the technical effects were sophisticated and well executed, but the real strength of this play does not stem from any technical wizardry, but from the cohesion and strong performances from the cast. I was happy to see that Katy Whitehead, the director, had decided to take a risk, and cast a profusion of fresh faces rather than stick with all the old ones, and I was even more delighted to find that there was not a weak link among them. Ovid seems very much an ensemble piece: being made of so many short tales linked together, the play could easily have descended into a rather bitty affair, but this was very much an ensemble production, and the cast managed to successfully weave all the strands into one cohesive whole. As a result I find it difficult to single out any one member of the cast for praise or blame, with the possible exception of James Marvin, whose performance as Ted Hughes/ Jupiter was powerful, intense and hopefully a good indication of things to come.

"No production is ever flawless, though I think I can say with some certainty that any flaws Ovid exhibited were inconsequential – misbehaving bed-sheets and the like. The energy and effort put into every scene made this a fantastic production, and if you missed it, you should be kicking yourself."

Wednesday, 21 February 2007

Crew List

Katy Whitehead - Director
Hannah Pidsley - Producer
Martha Greengrass - Costume Designer and Maker
Karl Niklas, Joe Lawson, Joe Phipps, Tim Franklin - Special Effects Team
Tim Leach - Stage Manager
Niki Seth - Smith - Musical Director
Sholeh Johnston - Singer
Paul Tavner - Publicity
Joe Tait, Adam Wilbourne - Lighting and Sound

Cast List

James Marvin Ted Hughes/Jupiter/Lycabus/Tereus

Claire Trevien Sylvia Plath/Juno/Minerva/Procne

Bruce Dean Tiresias/Nurse

Sam Smith Bacchus/Hermaphroditus/Itys

Gwen Kent Arachne/Salmacis/Ino

Sam Kinchin-Smith Acoetes/Narcissus/Silenus

Sandra Schira Semele/Philomela/Autone

Tom Steward Midas/Cinyras/Opheltes/Pandion

Rose Biggin Tiresias(female)/Myrrah/Echo

Joe Watson Pentheus/Storyteller/Man

Katy Brooke-Bullard Agave/Storyteller/Nymph/Woman

Ted Hughes and Ovid

Publius Ovidius Naso was a Roman poet known to the English-speaking world as Ovid. He wrote on topics of love, abandoned women, and mythological transformations.

Edward James Hughes, referred to normally as Ted Hughes, was an English poet and children's writer. He is considered by many to be one of the best poets of his generation. He wrote on topics of love, mythological transformations and abandoned women.

Hannah Pidsley - Producer

I'm Hannah, the producer of Ted Hughes' Ovid. I found the script to this play in the "reduced items" bin at the RSC shop in Stratford, and bought it for 99p. I've always loved Ovid's Metmorphoses, and so when I read this script, I adored it straight away! I asked if any of my friends were interested in directing it, and Katy said she would... One night, very late when we'd both been at a party, she told me she had a concept: frame it by telling the story of Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath... I knew immediatly it would work, and that if anyone could pull it off, it was Katy...

I've loved doing this play; we have a wonderful cast and a great crew, and we've just had so much fun!

I have also produced Othello and Oleanna for Warwick Drama.

The concept.

By conflating the stories of Ted Hughes and Ovid’s Metamorphoses, the latter is seen refracted through the commonly known biographical detail of Hughes’s life, but in a way that brings renewed depth to Hughes’ story and renewed relevance to Ovid’s.

Through this simple step, out of the ashes of Ovid’s archaism a whole new story can rise: A story about fantasy in the purely Freudian sense: revolutionary, pre-civilization, but fantasy that is not alienated from our day to day life but entwined within it- resultantly we hope to show how Greek myths are relevant since they inform our current dreams, actions, and unconscious thought patterns.

· The stories of Metamorphoses are only connected through narrative in the loosest sense – this refraction imposes a framework around them that makes them more digestible to a modern, theatre going audience who will expect a story.

· By bridging the gap between domestic/ biographical drama and mythic fantasy we hope to elevate banal, daily life to the level of epic fantasy.

· Encourages the audience to exercise their imagination and extend their fantasy vocabulary.

· Investigate from the perspective of literary criticism and psychoanalytic theory what in Hughes private life drew him to this ancient work, selecting only the twelve stories that he did and interpreting/ translating them in this way.

· Highlighting the mythic status we imbue on (among others) literary celebrities.

· From a purely practical setting- this concept allows us to achieve many of the transformations stipulated in the stage directions but in a symbolic manner, using household furniture – E.g. when man and woman become one in Hermaphroditus and Salmacis this can occur behind a shower curtain e.t.c.

Our Ovid...

The play unfolds on the set of a London open plan flat; the stage is cast in a lilac-grey dusk. In the bed a couple are making love. The sex is passionate, alternating between tenderness and playful aggression. An arm is raised, another arm brings it lower. The love-making is almost complete. Lights come up on a singer, and she begins to sing:

In nova fert animus mutates dicere formas corpora:

Now I am ready to tell how bodies are changed

Into different bodies.

Some are transformed just once

And live their whole lives after in that shape.

Others have a facility

For changing themselves as they please.

Now am I ready to tell how bodies are changed

Into different bodies:

In nova fert animus mutates dicere formas corpora.

During her song the sex act is completed, and half of the couple has removed himself from the bed. The lights on her go down, the lights on the main stage are lifted. Standing over the bed and fixing his white flannel dressing gown is a male character, assessable by posture to be in his mid thirties: this is Ted. In the bed lies Sylvia. The dialogue begins:

Ted: One time, Jupiter, happy to be idle,

Swept the cosmic mystery aside

And draining another goblet of ambrosia

Teased Juno,

Sylvia: Who drowsed in bed beside him.

Ted/ Jupiter: This love of male and female is a strange business.

Fifty-fifty investment in the madness,

Yet she ends up with nine-tenths of the pleasure.

Sylvia/ Juno: A man might think so.

And so a night begins of erotically charged and startlingly evocative storytelling between man and wife, prefiguring the translation Ted would come to make of Ovid’s Metamorphosis much later, after Sylvia’s death. As the stories the couple tells each other of classical myths and fallen deities become gradually more complex, brutal and fantastic, the literary duo are joined on stage by the cast of their visions- Gods, nymphs, satyrs, kings, judges, hogs, spiders, nightingales and trees in a golden hued realm of the imagination. Through the tales they tell though we see not one play, but two: as the biographical detail of Ted and Sylvia’s life is refracted through the lens of legend, and new light is, hopefully, shed on both. This is the concept for our re-imagining of Ted Hughes’ translation of Ovid’s Metamorphosis, adapted for the stage by Tim Supple and Simon Reade.