Character Portraits: Snout and Bottom!

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Snout – Tinker, Prop Maker, Player.

Snout loves Theatre. It has revolutionised how she perceives herself and the world and as such her zeal makes her into a bit of a theatre bore. However it has also meant her talent and graft has transformed her performance. Not so, her patience which is sorely tried with the others not taking it as seriously as she does.

She is cast in a variety of roles and for the Criterion Theatre is playing Lady Macbeth and Witch One.

Snout is played by Francesca Burgoyne.

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Bottom – Weaver, Player, Director.

Bottom has been entirely swept up in the play and his character. He sees himself and his destiny in the role of Macbeth and this show is the chance of a lifetime to proclaim himself the Greatest of Actors. This is a big responsibility and he is determined that the play should succeed in the way he envisions – whatever the personal cost to his friends.

He is playing only Macbeth.

Bottom is played by Jackson Pentland.

A extract of Mechanicals’ Macbeth is being performed as part of the Criterion New Writing Showcase at the Criterion Theatre from 2pm, Monday 20th November.

 

 

 

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Introducing: Jackson Pentland as Bottom in Mechanicals’ Macbeth at Criterion Showcase!

Jackson Pentland (bw-14-1)

We are excited to announce Jackson Pentland as Bottom in Mechanicals’ Macbeth for the Criterion New Writing Showcase!

Jackson trained at the University of Bristol and the Bristol Academy of Performing Arts. He has toured the UK and Ireland in Much Ado About Nothing (Benedick), The Wind in the Willows (Toad), The Hound of the Baskervilles (Watson), A Christmas Carol (Present/Fezziwig), as well as touring internationally to China in the Jungle Book (Baloo) and Dubai in The Pirates of Dinosaur Island (Major Potts/Lucky Jim). Other roles include Peter Rabbit and Friends (Mrs Tiggywinkle), Danny the Champion of the World (Dad), Anonymous Anonymous (George), The Peregrine (Doroteo), The Importance of Being Earnest (Lady Bracknell), and of course A Midsummer Night’s Dream most recently as Oberon/Theseus but Mechanicals’ Macbeth will be the third appearance of Jackon’s Bottom on the professional stage.

Jackson is also working with us as composer/Musical director.

As a composer and musical director Jackson has worked with Chapterhouse Theatre Company, Blue/Orange, GB Theatre Company, and Second Best Bed for whom he wrote lyrics, composed, and arranged a variety of songs ranging from Schubert-esque ballads to contemporary pop and rock songs. He writes folk and traditional music for Shakespeare plays including a collaboration with In Souliloquy for Et Tu.

Updates on Writing, R&D, supportive frameworks and spreadsheets.

A lot of writing involves things other than writing – there is a lot of thinking, a lot of dreaming, a lot of procrastinating doing other things. There is also, depending on the project a lot of planning and working out the scaffolding of everything and how it works (the dramaturgy) and other research.

If you are lucky much of stuff that surrounds actual writing can be collaborative, especially in theatre. For Mechanicals’ Macbeth we have done some R&D with the concept and idea and also performers playing around with situations. It is a work of intricate layers and structures and is actually very complicated. Once written and in production it will hopefully not feel complicated – but the depth that supports what you will see on stage will be strong and supportive and allow the comedy to entertain. It was in recognition of this that we made the decision to not write it in isolation but to open out the consultation around the writing and engage with other perspectives. (You can still do our R&D survey here)!

It’s also worth mentioning here that having a supportive and involved director is the best thing ever! It’s so important to creativity to surround yourself with other artists that you connect with – especially when embarking on such a big project.

So, onto some Behind The Scenes/ Process:

Source and Structure.

In the case of much of In Souliloquy work we have a source text and character. With Mechancials’ Macbeth there are two source texts – Midsummer Night’s Dream and Macbeth – the whole plays as well- not just one through-line/character journey. There needs to be a lot of deep interrogation of the source material for a show such as this and it has been a delight to rediscover these texts in constantly new and different ways. We are consciously using the structural layers of these works in Mechanicals’ – to underscore our new narrative journey.

Story.

From this, together we have knocked out the structure and story and timeline of the play. In some ways this is quite similar to devising/making a show – because you are building it in a different way to just writing it. This isn’t about writing to particular beats or hitting particular points at particular times – more so managing a lot of characters and a lot of action and knocking that into something that makes narrative sense and is fun to watch.

Characters.

We have six Mechanicals’ characters (Quince, Snout, Bottom, Snug, Flute and Starveling) – these characters from Midsummer are then of course cast in Macbeth. Them dipping in and out of these is super fun but needs to be precise in the writing, direction and performance. We also have a new original character that interacts with the others in a puckish role and brings our ensemble to seven. It is key to us that no character let’s lost in the mayhem and it doesn’t become “the Bottom show.”

As part of our character work we have been exploring the physical aspects of the group and are working with Shelley Knowles-Dixon as a movement director. This is really exciting in terms of fleshing out characters!

Spreadsheets.

This is the first play I have written that I have felt compelled to put structures etc. into a spreadsheet. With seven characters and lots of action it is going to prove super useful once the first draft is written to check in with. Hopefully it will also prove useful with directing choices and scene transitions and all the other times when everything is confusing and your brain is like “you know what would be really useful at this point? A spreadsheet.” Looking at the structure like this as well as in dot points is also useful as you can fill out extra character columns, and crucially also running time.

It’s a beautiful thing.

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Consultation/Collaboration.

We’ve been doing wider R&D!

Thank you to: Jackson, Kate, Emma, Shelley,Jeannie, Ivana, Jodi, Nicole for your in person participation and everyone who so far has completed our survey. It’s actually super useful and has already helped inform what goes into the show or how we approach mashing Midsummer into Macbeth more that we initially thought we might.

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We have lots of lovely big roles of paper for mapping out big ideas – and it’s been just fabulous to work with such a lot of people giving time and thoughts to the project.

So there you are, stuff is moving, things are happening and in exciting news out of all this actual proper writing is happening. The script is pulling together! It is moving – we are on the way. Honestly, writing is at times isolating. But it helps to know, just as our dramaturgy of Mechanicals’ Macbeth holds up the story – my director, R&D participants, performers we have cast and our In Soulilouqy team hold up me.

Much Mecanicals’ love.

Tilly x