Greetings from Messina High School! We have been BUSY! With zoom as our best friend now, we have rehearsed online — and we have started to record! Brace yourselves, this production will be a hybrid of an analogue 3D//digital zoom//audio-de-luxe entertainment! If you don’t believe us, why not check out our trailer and some witty banter betwixt Beatrice and Benedick. More teasers to follow.
It’s been a few busy weeks and we’ve accomplished quite a lot. Let’s start with our poster, designed by the wonderful and talented Clarisse Bourgoin.
As you can see, we stuck with our colour themes red/blue. Soon we can lift the secret as to what these colours designate. Well, you might be able to guess when you see our team photos…
Next, we finished our trailer. Hurrahhh! Taking full advantage of this mild winter, we were able to shoot it at the European School — and mostly outdoors, too. Well done Clémentine Zimpfer, creative adviser for the trailer, and Léa Mayoral who stars at the narrator/Chorus.
And finally, we’d like to present to you our three teams: red, blue and black. Can you guess who’s who?
Team Red — The Montagues
Mercutio is just too stylish in his Hawaii-shirt, how could anyone not want to be his best friend? And Lady M sure knows how to wear sparkle. Benny’s always ready for some good joke, while Romeo is going through a tough time at the moment — Rosaline didn’t text him back…
Team Blue: The Capulets
Did you spot Tybalt’s tattoo? Better not mess with him. And what about Lady C’s makeup? Very eighties, she surely rocks that look. Peter has always been the Hippie in the family, but Lord C doesn’t really care much. Juliet and Nursey are best friends and share all their secrets. Until one day…
Team Black — The Prince, County Paris and the Citizens of Verona
Team Black is all about installing order in Verona. Or, at least, if they can’t do that, marry rich Capulet’s daughter (Paris’ cunning plan), or marry rich Capulet’s daughter to someone different (Sister Laurentia’s cunning plan). The Prince would prefer just a bit of peace occasionally, and not having to use his whistle all the time (guard your ears). Chorus and Co-Director just try to keep the story rolling. Spoiler alert: it won’t be a happy ending.
And then, there is this important prop. To some it’s just a football, to others it’s a dangerous weapon while someone will be biting their thumb at someone else…
What it all has to do with Romeo & Juliet? Stay tuned….
What’s new with the ESM Players?
2020 started with lots of colour! In October we announced that we’d channel the two “households both alike in dignity” into two teams: Team Red and Team Blue. And so it has begun: Team Red, the House of Montague; Team Blue, the House of Capulet; and those not clearly aligned with one of the house, constitute Team Black. As we decided to set the play’s background into modern times, we were looking for these three colours that could be visibly worn by all actors. Last week our costumes team handed out some essential items for all actors — highlighting the colour theme of and, of course, adding some bling! So here is the cast, donning their red, blue and black bandanas.
And because bandanas go really well with a bit of bling bling, we weren’t hesitant in adding some jewellery. Here’s a first glimpse of County Paris, sporting his fashionable look. Clearly, all this bling bling convinced Old Capulet that Paris is just the right husband for Juliet.
Since Verona is ruled by a Prince whose loyalties are torn between the two families, we wanted to combine this twist into his costume thus showing off both Team Blue and Team Red.
To add some more sparkle, the mask ball that seals the fates for Romeo and Juliet will also feature some shiny items.
Our tech and props team was working very hard on some cool belt buckles, have a look — isn’t is amazing what one can do with 3D printers?
And what would be more bling than an opulent belt buckle with your initial on it? Correct. This is where our tech experts when to work and designed some Capulet and Montague belt buckles for the actors.
Juliet and Lady Capulet surely fell in love with their bandanas. We think that they look gorgeous in it.
Finally, Benvolio and Mercutio throw in their summary of the play — it fiteth well, we think. Although they seem to have a wee bit too much fun with it… someone needs to remind them that R&J is a tragedy… 😉
Stay tuned for the next update when we introduce our creative team and their plans for the poster design.
What were we up to in the last two weeks?
We started to work on setting the scene for feuding Verona. The feud between Capulets and Montagues, dating back to ancient times, still sits deep in Verona and affects every citizen, whether they are a Capulet or Montague, or a simple bystander. We have chosen a modern theme for this feud and why it is impossible for Romeo and Juliet to unite in peace, but we don’t want to give away yet which theme it is. One thing however we can announce, it’s Team Red versus Team Blue.
So here are a few sneak peeks from our last rehearsals.
Assistant Director Anna-Maria explains the fight choreography to Malena (Peter) and Anna (Benvolio). This fight-team faces a particular challenge since they are set to work downstage (and close to the edge of the stage), therefore every single step needs to be firmly memorised.
Here you can see Lise (Tybalt) and Malou (Mercutio) in action, while the rest of the cast is trying to learn lines. On a stage with only 2,5×1,5 metres, a fight scene is extra challenging. So our big question was, how can we come up with a fight choreography that is safe for the actors and yet engaging and with an air of menace? The micro-movements that these actors employ are simply stunning. Lise and Mercutio fully embraced the challenge and bring scene 14 (Tybalt accidentally stabbing Meructio under Romeo’s arm) to life. Bravo!
And here we see the actors setting the scene for feuding Verona. Enjoy!
And now to something completely different… when the director isn’t watching… ART!
It’s September — which for some means autumn is around the corner. For others it means that the ESM Players get together and don their costumes for the next Shakespeare show. So, let us introduce you to this year’s Team Shakespeare!
Those who have followed us for the last four years will spot some familiar faces. This year’s Assistant Director will be Anna-Maria (top, left corner), who has been the ESM Players ever since they had their humble beginnings. And back then they weren’t even called the ESM Players. So, good to have you back on the team!
We also welcome many other familiar faces — and many new ones. Welcome to the ESM Players family.
We will post weekly updates from our Shakespearean Journey, and next week we will announce our play and, of course, the casting. Stay tuned! We’re looking forward to entertaining you with another great Shakespeare show in March 2020.
Follow us on facebook and at #esmplayers.
May the Bard be with you. And us.
Pre-show backstage, discipline — warmup — getting into character and last instructions by directors and stage-management. Of course, everyone’s primary question is — how many members are in the audience tonight?
Photos: Dora Lutz
And then the magic moment happens, three drum beats announce the beginning of the play: the moment when audience and actors become accomplices. This is the beauty of outdoor theatre, where there is no fourth wall – no place to hide, all in the open.
Photos: Dora Lutz
And yet, despite the vastness of the venue, there are intimate moments, which create an experience for both, actors and audience, in a unique emotional way.
Photos: Tom Hafner
And who says that Shakespeare is for adults only?
Photos: Dora Lutz
And then there is, of course, the relief afterwards — after a 95-minute-iambic-pentameter marathon of emotional rollercoaster, physical workout and worrying looks up to the sky hoping for the weather gods to spare us the rain tonight, after all this and much more — nothing says “Yes, we did it!” better than a cold drink. Cheers.
Photos: Dora Lutz
This week, we’d like to introduce you to our actors who constitute Verona’s citizens — and are thus constantly caught in the brawls of these two feuding families.
Let us start with Blair. He plays Friar John and the Chorus. Blair joined Entity in 2001 by climbing through a window and playing a corpse and hasn’t looked back since. In R&J he plays a character who’s pretty much alive, taking our audience by the hand and guiding them through the play.
Another Friar, Friar Laurence, is played by David. David moved to Munich from Britain in 2017 and he’s excited to get back into acting. Previous credits include Angel Clare (Tess of the D’Urbervilles), Elisha J. Whitney (Anything Goes) and Professor Willard (Our Town), all with the Barnes Theatre Company, London. This summer, in his role as Friar Laurence, he has the best intention of bringing those two feuding families back together. Where did it all go wrong? Alack.
Next we have Marie, who plays Rosaline. While normally Rosaline is only pined about by Romeo but never really makes an entrance, we thought it would be a wonderful idea to bring her onto stage and let Romeo pine a little bit longer. This is her first time with Entity — let’s welcome her to the Team!
A trouble maker needs someone to enforce order, and this is Zubair’s role as Officer. Originally from Uganda, he has joined Entity this year for the first time. As Officer, he will be busily containing Verona’s chaos — so better watch out, he can be quite tough on trouble makers!