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Shakespeare: Still on Point?

Shakespeare’s work has been around for centuries – but is it still as relevant as it always was? Here, five of the young actors taking part in the MADC’s upcoming production of the Taming of the Shrew, in San Anton Gardens, explain why they firmly believe it is

12 July 2017, 7:55am
San Anton Gardens
San Anton Gardens
Philip Leone Ganado (Hortensio)

Philip Leone Ganado
Philip Leone Ganado
“This is my sixth MADC Shakespeare production as an actor, and I’ve also directed two of the Bard’s plays for WhatsTheirNames Theatre. What keeps me coming back is the way this beautiful language is not just poetry for its own sake but that it underpins stories that resonate deeply with us today, from the painfully beautiful to the hilariously silly. Shakespeare reminds me that we are the same people we’ve always been: that love, greed, heartbreak and ambition will always drive us to do great and stupid things. And that a dick joke will never cease to be funny. 

“The Taming of the Shrew is one of Shakespeare’s earliest plays, one of three out-and-out rom-coms he wrote in a few years. As Hortensio, one of the play’s comic lovers, it’s a chance to be silly and in love in a play that thrives on its own zaniness and its characters’ misfortunes, which has made rehearsals great fun to be part of. But then you also have the core relationship between Kate and Petruchio, a complex multi-layered affair where an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. People have questioned for years whether the play is misogynistic or an attack on misogyny, which – in our current climate – couldn’t be more pertinent.” 

Tina Rizzo (Biondello)

Tina Rizzo
Tina Rizzo
“This will be my first Shakespeare play, but I love The Taming of the Shrew – it’s one of my favourites. Shakespeare will always be relevant because his stories are timeless. They don’t occupy a specific space or time, so, once you get past the words and understand the language, what’s left is an array of universal themes that are applicable and relevant to us today.

“When it comes to this production, I am glad it is being set ‘in the round’. It allows us, as actors, to be flexible with our delivery and movement on stage. I also believe that Shakespeare’s plays rely heavily on a strong audience-actor dynamic, so performing in the round will also help with that.”

Jasmine Farrugia (Bianca)

Jasmine Farrugia
Jasmine Farrugia
“This is my third Shakespeare with MADC and I love taking part. Shakespearean speech is not always easy to tackle, so I see it as a learning experience in the genre. I am very much enjoying this production and, especially, the cast and crew. Although it can get quite hot in the rehearsal room… literally, it’s been boiling!

“Personally I think Shakespeare is still relevant today because his literature is broad and known worldwide. Shakespeare’s plays imbue comedy, love and sympathy, as well as characters that display qualities that readers identify with.”

Erica Muscat (Nancy)

Erica Muscat
Erica Muscat
“At the heart of Shakespeare’s poetry are timeless human stories. I’m actually envious of anybody who has never watched a Shakespeare before. Now, it’s like watching a thriller when I already know the ending but I remember the first time I heard Macbeth, and in a strong Scottish accent, no less… 

“Primarily, I chose to take part in this production because of (director) Polly March. Taming of the Shrew is such an iconic piece and I was curious to see how Polly would approach it. She’s got an immense respect for the text and yet she always manages to bring something new and fresh to it. I am also very much enjoying the cast. We have actors from all walks of Shakespeare. I think Philip wins the prize for ‘old hand’, but we also have some newbies and their reactions when they uncover a nuance in the plot is priceless. It takes a curious, playful actor to want to explore this work – and we have an abundance of them!”

Becky Camilleri (Katherina)

Becky Camilleri
Becky Camilleri
“The fact that we can still read and watch Shakespeare, and relate to all the themes and characters on such a human level, is testament to the fact his work is truly timeless. I honestly don’t think Shakespeare will ever be irrelevant and people should come along to watch because they get to see his work live and performed, as it was meant to be. The thought of Shakespeare can seem daunting to people at first, especially if you have only ever been exposed to it in an academic setting, but watching it is an entirely different experience. It’s actually really funny, I promise!

“I jumped at the chance to play Kate because it doesn’t really get more exciting than that! I am enjoying watching all the characters come to life and seeing how everyone is putting their own spin on things. Plus, we’ve already had a baby and a dog join us at rehearsals, so we’re keeping things interesting!” 

The Taming of the Shrew will take place at San Anton Gardens in Attard from July 14 to 23. Tickets are available online at www.madc.com.mt

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