Propeller's vibrant interpretation of Bard's play works just like a Dream
Acclaimed Shakespeare company Propeller is back with another fan on board. Darrell Brockis is delighted to be playing rather than watching.
He takes his place as Oberon, king of the fairies, in A Midsummer Night's Dream.
"I have been a fan for quite a long time," says Darrell. "A very good friend of mine had been in the shows for many years and I would always come and watch him."
When Darrell was invited to join all-male Propeller, he didn't hesitate, although he already had 10 Shakespeare productions to his credit. This, he knew, would be different.
FREE WHEATGERM WITH EVERY POND HEATER www.blagdon-water-gardens.c...View details
Protect your pond fish this winter. Purchase the resun 100w pond heater £39.99 from www.blagdon-water-gardens.co.uk and we will give you a pot of Tetra wheatgerm 1l winter fishfood worth £4.99 FREE
Contact: 01934 316673
Valid until: Friday, February 28 2014
"Propeller does the most vibrant and truthfully told Shakespeare," he says. "The story-telling comes ahead of everything. Even though we might put some eccentric stuff on top, we use it to tell the story. It doesn't overwhelm it.
"We try to give the audience a similar experience to that of audiences in his time. We're an all-male company, as they were in his day.
"We wear modern costumes. With Henry V we wore contemporary military but that's not making some comment about Iraq or Afghanistan, putting some concept on top. It's saying, 'this is about all war'. It's saying that Shakespeare is exciting, vibrant and relevant."
Which explains why audiences keep coming back and Propeller keeps picking up prizes – including a Theatre Managers' Association Best Touring Production prize for A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Propeller formed in 1997 but did not play the Theatre Royal Plymouth until 2011 when the company presented Richard III and The Comedy Of Errors. They returned in 2012 with Henry V and The Winter's Tale, and in February this year treated the Theatre Royal to Twelfth Night and The Taming Of The Shrew.
Darrell has been in three previous Propeller productions. His CV hardly lacks variety, either: he has had a world tour in the arena show, Batman, and toured the US in Peter Pan, and there is classic drama (Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie) and comic thrills (The Lady Vanishes) among the many other credits.
Shakespeare looms large, though, on that CV, and does help despite Propeller's distinctive, highly physical approach, which contrasts sharply with the way most other companies approach the Bard's work.
"That (the experience) does help because you are comfortable with the language and it helps with fluidity," says Darrell.
Such fluidity helps feed into up-tempo Propeller productions. But isn't there a danger that, despite the fluidity and clarity, Propeller speeds ahead of audiences, who might need time to "tune in" if they aren't familiar with a play?
"You are always aware that in the first few scenes the audience is tuning into the language to a degree. But slowing it down would not help.
"The fluidity increases the clarity. It's the same even on tour abroad with foreign language audiences.
"You do not need a knowledge of Shakespeare to come to a Propeller production," says Darrell. "The play is not a historical document but a piece of relevant, exciting theatre.
A Midsummer Night's Dream runs at the Theatre Royal Plymouth from Wednesday to Saturday next week.