Distinctive amateur drama
in Northampton since 1932
Registered Charity No. 294848
Troilus and Cressida
by William Shakespeare
Tue 13 - Sat 17 May 2014 at 7.30pm
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Sheep Street, Northampton Map>
CAST & CREW
Priam Tony Janney
Hector Martin Williams
Paris Alistair Way
Troilus Michael Ryan
Deiphobus Deion Adams
Margarelon Mark Mortimer
Cassandra Beverley Webster
Andromache Zoe Davey
Helen Jen Kenny
Pandarus Owen T Warr
Cressida Hannah Saxton
Calchas Kevin Pinks
Alexandra Zoe Davey
Aeneas Peter Collins
Agamemnon Richard Walker
Menelaus David Dunkley
Ulysses Will Johnston
Nestor Victor Guse
Achilles Nat Gibbard
Patroclus Oliver Mackan
Ajax Mark Bentley
Diomedes Lewis Marks
Thersites Barry Dougall
Myrmidons members of the cast
Director Rob Kendall
Stage Manager Clare Brittain
Continuity Ingrid Heymann
Costumes Pam Mann, Rob Kendall, Masque Costumes, The Works
Set Design Rob Kendall
Armourer Derek Banyard
Fight Arranger Rob Kendall and cast
Lighting Richard Walker, The Works
Lighting Desk Ethan Monk
Sound Effects Philip Welsh
Rehearsal Photography Tony Janney
Programme Design Graham Follett
Publicity Kirsty Spence
Box Office Liz Allen
Front of House Masque Theatre members
Rob Kendall, director
As some of you will have spotted we are performing two Shakespeares this season to celebrate the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare's birth.
The first is Troilus and Cressida, which Masque has not performed before, and to be performed in the round of The Church of the Holy Sepulchre where the columns of the round will help to create the ambiance of the city of Troy and the ‘round’ itself the Trojan plain and battlefield for both emotional gambits between Troilus (Michael Ryan) and Cressida (Hannah Saxton) and physical fighty-stuff between the Greeks and Trojans enacted by the cast of 25.
In short order, the plot is the sub-plot to the Helen of Troy myth with all the usual suspects - Helen, Paris, Achilles, Ulysses and so on. Oh, and obviously the two title characters. If you’ve seen ‘Troy’ the movie you’ll get something of the theme though you’ll not necessarily see Eric Bana and Brad Pitt look-alikes.
The plot of T&C begins with Pandarus (Owen Warr) pandering to the love interest of Troilus and Cressida, but this theme is soon overtaken by the challenge made for individual combat between Hector (Martin Williams) and a Greek champion, possibly Achilles played by Nat Gibbard, and new to Masque, or more likely Ajax (Mark Bentley), to bring the punch up over Helen to an end as overseen by Richard Walker’s Agamemnon.
The love interest between Troilus and Cressida is a counterpoint to this ‘challenge’ and even more so when Cressida is given to the Greeks by her father and Troilus suspects that she has been wooed by Diomedes (Lewis Marks), a Greek, all this is held to ridicule by the ‘scurrilous’ Thersities (Barry Dougall).
Anyway it all ends more or less happily, as the original myth suggests, but not after some intriguing twists and turns.
It is going to be costumed in suggested period Greek/Trojan style, though not necessarily a sword and sandal epic where ‘300’ meets ‘Troy’. There is much for an audience to enjoy and with such a large cast, with too many to mention, there is a chance to spot several new members to Masque as well as the ‘stalwarts’. And I have edited it down to an hour and half running time!
Masque Theatre's production is directed by Masque member Rob Kendall, whose shows for the group include Margot (2013), Nicholas Nickleby (2012), Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (2012), Romeo and Juliet (2011) and Great Expectations (2010)
Martin Borley-Cox, Masque member
Holy Seps became ancient Troy and the setting of Shakespeare's sword and sandals (and sex) epic.
Set during the Trojan Wars, as recounted in the Iliad, Troilus and Cressida is part love story and part wartime political manoeuvrings. It's a tragedy, so things get quite gloomy.
Troilus is a prince of Troy and a valiant warrior. Judging by Michael Ryan's physique, Troilus also spends lots of time in the gym. He looked like a Hollywood-style fighting machine in his leather-effect Greek skirt and breastplate. And he spoke the lines with confidence and clarity.
Good luck to Michael when he studies at the American Academy of Dramatic Art in the USA this Autumn.
Hannah Saxton also looked the part as the beautiful Cressida. It was Hannah's first appearance with Masque and she's very welcome.
Also new to the group and equally welcome were Zoe Davey (Andromache and Alexandra), Beverley Webster (Cassandra), Nat Gibbard (Achilles), Victor Guse (Nestor) and, though not new to Masque but in her first acting role, Jen Kenny (Helen).
But the Masque stalwarts were back including David Dunkley (Menelaus), Kevin Pinks (Calchas), Richard Walker (Agamemnon), Owen Warr (Pandarus), Martin Williams (Hector) and Tony Janney (Priam).
I was pleased that Tony was given a chance to demonstrate that he's one of our most versatile actors and is able to play much more than butlers and eccentrc old men.
The 'comedy' characters in Shakespeare plays are always a challenge because 400-year-old humour doesn't always travel. Barry Dougall is usually given these sorts of roles and he did his best with Thersites, the vicious-tongued slave of Ajax. Barry's chipper delivery works well with Thersites' acid drops.
The director, Rob Kendall, wisely chose a simple staging. The sculpture of the Trojan horse, hiding Holy Seps's font, was sufficient to tell us where we were.
The heavy stonework and gloomy interior of the Medieval Round conveys foreboding. Rob enhanced this by having, at various points, Achilles’ bodyguard, the Myrmidons (dressed Ninja-style in black with black scarfs covering their faces) move around the stage in a sort of dance.
The costuming (Pam Mann and Rob Kendall) also mixed the periods. Although the setting was ancient Troy and some wore Greek-style uniforms and sandals (Troilus and Diomedes), others had 21st Century atire under their robes or tunics, including what looked like black jeans and modern shoes. What we had was a suggestion of the period, which was all we needed really. And of course in Shakespeare's day costumes were unlikely to have been authentic.
It's the first time Masque Theatre has staged this play. It's good that the group will put on work that most other amdram groups would run a mile from, and which will never be guaranteed full houses. If you did turn up, congratulate yourself for supporting a hard working cast and crew.
Page last updated: 08/02/2015 Masque Theatre © 2015
A scene from Troilus and Cressida. Photo by Tony Janney