Propeller have a great reputation. But for anyone who doesn't know, tell us what makes their productions unique?
Aside from the fact it’s an all-male company which is unique in itself (accepting the all-male conceit allows the audience to use its imagination in a way that opens endless possibilities to how we tell our story) the productions are enormously vibrant, energetic, musical and crystal-clear in their storytelling, inviting the audience to the party where they become complicit with the action. There is no fourth wall in Propeller – the audience is an equally important character in the room.
Describe your role - Associate director
I have rehearsed and staged the two current touring revivals of Propeller’s Twelfth Night and Taming of the Shrew, directed by Edward Hall in 2007.
Why do you think Shakespeare adaptations continue to be successful?
Not all are – but Propeller’s adaptations hit the mark because we always aim to tell the story that Shakespeare intended to tell and not clutter the production with clever conceits and over-fancy sets or designs. Our creativity comes from clues in the text – we remain faithful to his language above all else, and we find the most imaginative and fun ways possible in which to tell his story.
For anyone bored with the Bard, what can Propeller offer them?
It’s hard to like any dish if it isn’t cooked properly – you can rest assured however that Propeller is an ensemble of wonderfully creative chefs; not only do we cook up a rock and roll energy in the space, but we deliver the language into your lap with distinct and tasteful clarity and class.
What's been your favourite production to work on for Propeller?
As an actor – I’ve loved them all for different reasons – my first tour of Comedy of Errors and Henry V took us to over 11 different countries worldwide – it was an incredible odyssey. The parts I’ve enjoyed the most are Henry V, Petrucchio and Lysander – well, all of them really.
Tell us a bit about Twelfth Night and Shrew, in terms of new additions to the texts?
The texts are the same – we don’t interfere with Shakespeare’s work – we may edit here and there for clarity’s sake - or to allow the audience time to get home not too late at the end of the evening.
What was the last great thing you saw on stage?
Twelfth Night by Propeller.
At the moment – Waiting for Sunrise by William Boyd
Greece, every time.
Magicseaweed – surf reports from all over the world, great videos and pics and weather forecasts – if you’re into that kind of thing…
What do you hope audiences take away from either production?
They will have had a fantastic evening’s entertainment and witnessed a wonderful story unfold that thrilled and moved them and inspired them to watch more.
With so many productions of Shakespeare, why should they choose these two?
Propeller deliver the plays as they are meant to be delivered. If you want to see true ensemble storytelling that puts the story above all else then come to us.
Dugald Bruce Lockhart was speaking to Glenn Meads
Propeller's Twelfth Night is at the Lowry from 9 - 13 April and their Taming of the Shrew from 10 - 13 April.