Photo by Malika Mezeli
I gathered a gang together for my first go at Troylus & Cressida in January 2012. We rehearsed in the Marlborough, an ex-pub in Camberwell (rehearsal shots above). Shakespeare's play turns the Iliad on it's head by exposing its heroes' humanity in all their ugly, petty, vain, cowardly, thoughtless mess. This makes the brave moments when Troylus and Cressida strive to love each other and forge a relationship in the middle of a pointless war zone even more heart-wrenching. It's a masterpiece of a play, though it was evidently not loved well in Shakespeare's time, and has rarely been given the attention it deserves. We envisioned the Greeks in their tents a bit like a bunch of festival goers who had overstayed at Glastonbury, dressed as superheroes and high on their own egos - the Trojans were all dressed in white, stiff and buttoned up and too proud to realise when they were losing. We performed it in a vast ex-mattress factory in Vauxhall which was known for a time as The Spring; it has now been demolished. We asked the audience to wrap up very warm as there was very little heating. We fed them soup.