New East Anglian summer tour ‘All Hail Macbeth’ tells the back story of the Three Witches
- Credit: Archant
New theatre company Packing Shed, has just launched a new summer tour of East Anglia telling an updated story of Macbeth’s three witches. We spoke to the people behind the tour.
One of the region's newest theatre companies is making its regional debut with a sideways look at the 'Scottish play'.
In All Hail Macbeth, hell hath no fury like three women scorned as a trio of young women try to make sense of their lives in the 21st century.
Mixing comedy and drama, with more than a little bit of magic, All Hail Macbeth tells the backstory of the Three Witches in Shakespeare's Macbeth, giving them their own story, except for a modern age.
It's been co-written by actor Elly Kent-Dyson alongside Packing Shed's artistic director, Neil D'Arcy-Jones.
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Elly says: "We wanted to give the witches a voice and a back story.
"In Shakespeare's play we know nothing about them, apart from the fact they lead Macbeth to his demise, but we wanted to make them real, give them personalities and answer the question 'why were they there, on the heath, to meet Macbeth'.
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Neil adds: "We feel it's an important story to tell, especially now with the recent centenary of women first getting the vote, and the current Time's Up and #MeToo movements."
As well as an all-female cast, there's live music courtesy of a female close harmony singing trio who will be performing modern classics like Creep by Radiohead and Girls Just Wanna Have Fun by Cyndi Lauper in an old school swing style.
One of the bewitching trio in the play is actress Linda Duan, originally from Colchester, who is best known for her cameo role in the hit Marvel blockbuster Doctor Strange, starring Benedict Cumberbatch. The summer tour gave her a wonderful excuse to return to her childhood home
What or who got you interested theatre? Did you take part in any productions at school?
Honestly, the drama department at the school I went to was really lacking. We went to a Saturday drama class but I definitely credit my friends most. My friends and I spent a lot of our weekends and holidays making Youtube sketches and videos, even adapting a whole play we studied at school into a feature film. (An Inspector Calls). I don't think our carefree attitude would have happened if we went to a mixed school, as we'd probably be worried about what the boys would think.
Are or were any members of your immediate family involved in the theatre?
No, I'm the black sheep.
What formal training have you done?
I studied at the International School of Corporeal Mime for two years and then at Ecole Philippe Gaulier for one year.
Who is the most inspiring person you've worked with and why?
Honestly working with Philippe Gaulier is incredible. I contribute a lot of my growth with him. He's got a lot of love for you and really does want you to grow as a performer.
Do you have any specialist skills - anything from stilt walking to dress-making - which you work into your repertoire?
My martial arts (1st Dan Black belt in Shotokan Karate) as a specialist skill is probably the thing that is most useful to acting, but more in the film world - action movies and what not. Physical theatre and movement is something that I'm more deeply attuned to, but often it comes out when I'm not even thinking about it.
"The rhythm, texture, speed of something like a walk, for example, or when you're sitting, is your weight on your feet or on your sitting bones, how far forward in your chair are you sitting, are you slouched, etc. That's all things I potentially think about, either deliberately or subconsciously while rehearsing or even analysing someone else's performance.
Which experience/role do you regard as the highlight of your career to date?
My role Tina Minoru in Doctor Strange definitely, it's an incredible opportunity to be a part of a Marvel blockbuster and I'm extremely grateful for it.
What has been your most embarrassing moment on stage?
I've been slobbered on, but I wouldn't say it was embarrassing at all.
What role would you most like to play and why?
I'd love to play Eponine as a character (Les Miserables), but not in the musical version because I can't sing. The character has a lot of love through so much suffering and is a true victim of circumstance. I felt so much for the character when I read the book.
Ever corpsed on stage? What happened?
Never but I love watching people corpse. Sometimes people take acting a bit too seriously and forget that a play is a "play". I love seeing people have fun.
Any big plans for the future?
I'm working on a few projects at the moment but I can't say too much. I do want to do good for the world so one of my projects is more on that side of things.
Any tricks for remembering your lines or other useful tips to pass on to other actors/directors?
Just learn your lines (there's no shortcut) and get a friend to test you. Go over them everyday or every other day to make sure it's stuck. After all that hard work, then you can have fun and be free.
All Hail Macbeth is the fourth show by Packing Shed, which was set up to promote original work from the Eastern region using the creative talents also based in the area. They have recently been giving the opportunity to set up a new Open Air Theatre project in Colchester's Castle Park, which will take place this September.
All Hail Macbeth Tour Dates:
June 27 - Quay Theatre, Sudbury. 01787 374745.
June 28 - Corn Hall, Diss. 01379 652241
July 1 to 4 - New Wolsey Studio, Ipswich. 01473 295900.
July 5 - St George's Hall, Great Yarmouth. 01493 331484.
July 6 - Little Theatre, Sherringham. 01263 822347.
July 10 - Norwich Arts Centre. 01603 660352.
July 11 - Fisher Theatre, Bungay. 01986 897130.
July 12 - Ickworth Church, Bury St Edmunds.