AFTERSHAKESPEARE

It’s not been easy trying to get inside the mind of this most incredible genius of words, yet the journey we started over 13 years ago has been exhilarating, to say the least.  Whilst there are many companies throughout the world regularly presenting Shakespeare’s plays in very different ways, the approach we have taken revolves around providing answers to this contention:

 

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:

a) give new and sustainable life to his own work (phase1)

b) create new work that is inspired, influenced by, or flows out from

the tradition Shakespeare worked in (phase 2)?

 

 

That is what we set out to do, and since then we have written and performed 5 sequels to Shakespeare's original plays, and 2 plays that take us into the workings of Shakespeare through his plays.

 

We believe our approach of staying faithful to the original works by putting them in a very different setting results in a startling rejuvenation of the text, giving them a whole new life and meaning; reaction from audience members and press give evidence to this.

 

Our After Shakespeare  work is specially written to offer contemporary new insights into Shakespeare's original plays whilst retaining Shakespeare's original words/themes/characters.

                          

At the same time we are in the process of publishing our AfterShakespeare works, for more details please click here.

                

For a selection of Reviews and Audience Feedback quotes from all After Shakespeare productions please click here.

 

For a copy of our AfterShakespeare approach, please click here

 

This work is described in more detail in our AfterShakespeare Collaboration website - please click here

 

 

AFTER SHAKESPEARE: Reworkings of Shakespeare's Plays

King Lear (alone)
Nominated for the GM Fringe Best Adaptation Award 2018
Nominated for the GM Fringe Best Spoken Word Award 2018
2018 Greater Manchester Fringe, Edinburgh Fringe
2017 Bristol Shakespeare Festival, Bath Fringe, Oldham, Buxton Festival Fringe
2016 Greater Manchester Fringe, Birmingham, Camden Fringe
2015 Birmingham Fest, Buxton Fringe

 

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; for more please click here

 

"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.

" .  .  . but Young has taken on a great responsibility to perform the grand and complex role at extremely short notice, and to perform alone in an intimate space was highly applauded and clearly respected by every audience member."

"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."

Cordelia / Fool

two sides of the same coin?

Winner of the Birmingham Fest Best Adaptation Award 2018

2018 Bristol Shakespeare Festival, Birmingham Fest, Buxton Fringe

Powerful one-man play, a thought-provoking reworking of King Lear, as told through Cordelia and Fool.

This powerful one-man play is a thought-provoking reworking of the original text to provide a unique insight into the mind of the disturbed King Lear himself.

Traditionally it is thought that the two roles of Cordelia and Fool could have been played by one actor, and this is the contention behind the play. However, more importantly, is the psychological connection between the characters of Lear, Cordelia and Fool – are they, within the context of Shakespeare’s voyage of discovery, all manifestations arising out of the same psychic disturbance?

The play also explores the technique and craft of being an actor, with much of the action taking place within the Tiring House, as well as on the stage where King Lear the play is being performed.

For a selection of quotes from Reviews and Audience Feedback please click here

 

An Audience with Sir John Falstaff
Falstaff's never-before-revealed true-life story!
2018 Bristol Shakespeare Festival, Birmingham Fest, Buxton Fringe

Falstaff, as big as life, revealing all, telling it as it should have been told!

Falstaff regales us with his true-life story - and his never before revealed relationship with William Shakespeare. The fat knight himself, in the flesh, is here to answer the questions that audiences have long sought to ask! 

Falstaff is here to tell us the real truth about his life as one of Literature's biggest characters, also his fractured relationship with his one-time mucker William Shakespeare. As well as regaling the audience with anecdotes and larger-than-life stories, he has, at last, a chance to tell it all, from his point of view. Quotes from Shakespeare’s plays are used, as well as Falstaff’s very own words.

Both the comic and tragic sides to Falstaff’s life are laid bare before the public, in the course of which we get to understand something about how Shakespeare’s possibly greatest character became a literary giant. 

 

For a selection of quotes from Reviews and Audience Feedback please click here

Romeo & Juliet for all Time
Winner of the Hairline Best Play Award 2004
Nominated for the Buxton Fringe Best New Writing Award 2004

2012 Old Joint Stock Theatre

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

 

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; for more please click here

 

"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

2012 Old Joint Stock Theatre

 

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; for more please click here

 

“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

2006 Greenwich Playhouse, London

Tempest fugit:Prospero's Will-based on The Tempest, the third in the line of Frank Bramwells 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; for more please click here

 

"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

2005 Edinburgh Fringe Festival

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; for more please click here

 

". . . 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.”

 

AFTER SHAKESPEARE: the Man

Time Out of Joint

2009 Edinburgh Fringe Festival

 

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; for more please click here

 

"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"

AFTER SHAKESPEARE: the Plays Inside Out

We will soon be turning our attention to producing a series of ‘pocket size’ versions of the original Shakespeare plays; the events of the original plays, seen through the words of the key characters, modified to fit with the sensibilities of modern day audiences, as alternative takes on the original plays.

 

We are starting the series with the writing of Lear: Inside Out and we will update the website once the play is ready for performance and for publication.

 

AFTER SHAKESPEARE: the Plays Retold

Our latest venture is a retelling of the original plays by adding to the original script a newly written central Narrative voice; we believe this will not only add another dimension but also give modern audiences more accessibility to them.

 

A Midsummer Night's Dream is the first to be worked on in this fashion. The introduction of a Narative voice in the play allows us to perfom the piece as a Radio play within a Theatre setting. This same device also lends itself to the play being produced as a stand alone book.