Shielding family perform Shakespeare live
Shielding family perform 45 minute comedy version of "King Lear" live from home.
Oddsocks' comedy version of "King Lear" will certainly be unique as it streams online at 7pm on 31st July. Performed live and streamed directly from their home as they continue to shield their daughter, the family run theatre company will bring Shakespeare's epic drama to life as it has never been seen before.
"Our daughter, Charlie, who is playing Lear's youngest daughter Cordelia, has a very rare condition which puts her at severe risk of complications if she contracts Covid-19" explains mum Elli Mackenzie (Creative Producer), "so even though open air performance is now allowed, it's not an option for us just yet". Whilst the company, who usually specialise in producing open air theatre, are planning to return to performing live at some point in September, they are marking the end of restrictions by airing the last in their series of Stay Home Shakespeare performances on Friday 31st July.
Their comedy King Lear will be streamed live from the family's home in Derbyshire, using only the camera equipment they have to hand; their laptops, a couple of mobile phones and their Cannon 750. Each scene, performed in different rooms around their house in real time are edited live by Director Of Photography Kee Ramsorrun, working remotely from his studio in Margate. "We are like swans in water during the actual 45-minute performance." says Elli who is playing both of Lear's elder daughters, Goneril and Regan in the production, "the aim is to make it look smooth but it's rehearsed mayhem off camera. During scenes, when one of us is not in shot, we are busy changing costumes, moving props for each other, setting up rooms and moving cameras into new positions throughout, which is quite a challenge. When we performed 'Macbeth' back in May we drew an audience of thousands watching it go out live online so we are hoping for as big an audience this time round. It takes a lot of preparation and weeks of rehearsing and we have just one chance to get it right. It's exciting though and keeps us in practice whilst we can't tour."
Oddsocks has established a reputation over thirty years of touring nationally to venues such as Theatre Royal Winchester, The Belgrade Theatre Coventry, Harrogate International Festival and was famously the only professional British theatre company to regularly tour to Jordan and Syria in the mid 1990's. "We have a lot of filmed footage of one of our last tours of Syria and Jordan which we really want to piece together into a documentary" says Elli, "It would be so poignant now given the conflict and change the region has experienced. We were lucky to enjoy a short 'window of opportunity' touring to historic places as Homs and Tartus in Syria with our production of Macbeth." The company's unique approach to Shakespeare entertains and uses comedy whilst skilfully retaining the text and integrity of the original play. Elli continues; "We have a loyal and expanding audience who come to our live performances across the UK and the Channel Islands because we entertain and educate at the same time. Situation comedy whilst remaining true to the Shakespeare text is the key for us."
Dad (Artistic Director) Andy Barrow's Lear is a man at the end of his career. Losing his grip on the modern world and looking forward to peaceful retirement, cared for by his three adoring daughters in turn, but after falling out with his youngest, life in a bubble with the remaining two is not quite as comfortable as he imagined. "He is quite demanding as a house guest" explains Andy "and unfortunately won't part with his entourage of a hundred knights, who his daughters struggle to accommodate". Asked how the family of three are going to portray a hundred knights Andy responds "We'll have worked something out by the time we go live and it will be bonkers I suspect". With the enforced change of approach that sheilding has imposed, a lot of Oddsocks' trademark comedy style now comes from the finding creative ways of setting the play within the confines of the family's home. "The blasted heath Lear escapes to will probably be our front garden-" "-with me on garden hose duty" adds Charlie, Andy continues "The hovel he takes shelter in may end up being the garage to be honest. We've built up quite a following for our Stay Home Shakespeare's and we will have to make sure that regular popular features make an appearance, like the 'red spatula of doom' and you'll have to tune in to find out what that is". He adds with a smile. You can join Andy, Elli and daughter Charlie as they breath family life into King Lear by going to https://www.oddsocks.co.uk/stay-home-shakespeare
To watch the company's previous Stay Home Shakespeare performances go to: https://oddsocks.cloudvenue.co.uk/supportoddsocks at 7pm on Friday 31st July.
Audience reviews of Stay Home Shakespeare's "Macbeth" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream":
“What a great feat of comedy, technology and boot-strapping entertainment”
“Fabulous! The whole family sat and watched it together”
“This was a belly laugh.”
“Best use of fridge-cam I've ever seen. And a battle scene to die for. Magnificent!!”
Oddsocks Productions was unsuccessful in obtaining any emergency funding from Arts Council England and have slipped through the cracks of all government financial assistance. If you are able to contribute to their survival fund and help them get back on tour in future please go to https://www.twitch.tv/funkeetv