We asked the company’s director/producer, Arne Pohlmeier, and actress Dilek Rose a few questions about what makes their show unique, the challenges they faced and what lies ahead for Two Gent Productions?
“If I be waspish, best beware my sting” Katherine Act 2, Scene1 The Taming of the Shrew
What makes your The Taming of the Shrew production different to other productions of this play?
Arne Pohlmeier: “Our production features only two actors of migrant/minority ethnic backgrounds – this really sets it apart from the full cast, full set and costume productions by the RSC that Shakespeare’s plays are more readily associated with. It is very much at the heart of our work as a company to show audiences how freeing and thrilling Shakespeare can be, when it’s done with a zest for difference.
A main strength of our stripped-back approach is that we can zone right in on the key themes of the play – doing away with some of the outward limbs and embellishments that can otherwise cover up the heart of the matter. In Taming of the Shrew these themes are very much about how we govern our relationships and how we define our roles in relation to our husband/wife/partner.”
What made you decide to perform this particular Shakespeare play?
Arne: Our aim is to perform all of Shakespeare’s plays in the order in which he wrote them (approximately). Two Gentlmen of Verona was possibly his earliest play and we have performed it already, so Taming of the Shrew along with Henry VI: York V Lancaster are next in line. It’s great to get stuck in with these early plays because you can really get a feel of Shakespeare learning his trade. Some of his choices are still a bit wooden – the declamatory and overtly theatrical way Lucentio and Petruchio announce their arrival in Padua, for instance. But then again, he is already very much in touch with the Zeitgeist of his time and willing to challenge his audience. The way Petruchio goes about ‘taming’ Kate is quite radical and was hard to swallow even for Shakespeare’s contemporaries. It is very exciting for us to confront these issues ourselves, within our very own 21st century context and see how we can get the balance right between challenging and entertaining our audiences.
What were the benefits and challenges to having only two performers take on all the roles?
Dilek Rose: “The benefits are getting to play so many different characters in the one piece and having lots of stage time which in turn means having to have great stamina and keeping energy levels high. Another challenge is making sure the audiences don’t get confused with the characters as it’s easy to get mixed up with only 2 actors playing 6 or 7 characters each.”
Are there any roles you would really like to play in future?
Dilek: “I would like to play Hamlet, yes I know it’s a male role but I think it’s one of the most interesting parts Shakepeare has written. Also a Bond girl would be fun.”
Have you had any embarrassing moments on stage?
Dilek: “My most embarrassing moment was probably falling off stage during a show and continuing as though it was meant to happen whilst all the other actors were in hysterics. I haven’t really had any really embarrassing moments during this tour yet, apart from getting lines wrong.”
What is your career highlight to date?
Dilek: “Having a short film which I played lead character in ‘The Chocolate Wrapper’ screened at BAFTA. It was based on a true story so I got to play a real person, who I had the privilege of meeting. It’s a moving story and one that’s dear to my heart as I got to know the family involved.”
What’s in store for Two Gents Production’s future?
Arne: “Directly after finishing this tour of Taming of the Shrew, we go back into the rehearsal room to create our version of Henry VI: York V Lancaster (for the experts: this is our name for Henry VI, part 2 – probably the first in the trilogy – part 1 being a prequel). We will be performing this production in London in November.
Next year we hope launch our second season from the Complete Shakespeare Project in the Summer/Autumn – we will probably be tackling Henry VI parts 3 and 1 as well as the great, bloody, early tragedy, Titus Andronicus.”
Don’t miss Taming of the Shrew by Two Gents Productions this week at the following venues:
Wednesday, 8th October 2014, 7:30 PM The Fleece Inn, Bretforton
Tickets: £10.00 Full Price / £6.50 Under 18 / Box Office: 01386 831173