Award-winning fringe company the Owle Schreame return to VAULT with a wild, rough, raucous and drunken reimagining; a version of A Midsummer Night's Dream from the 1640's, originally adapted for illegal performance in pubs and back alleys whilst theatre was outlawed, over 350 years ago. “The Merry Conceited Humours of Bottom the Weaver” has remained unperformed ever since. Until now.
In 1642 the Puritans overthrew the English monarchy; they beheaded the King, banned Christmas,
and made all theatre illegal. But theatre didn’t die. Without a stage, without costumes, without props, theatre fell into the gutters, kept alive by an array of strange, ridiculous, over-the-top, chaotic and criminal plays, which their dissolute performers called Drolls.
Performed illegally in back alleys, private homes, pubs and country fairs, of these bizarre, bastardised and boisterous sketch comedies one of the most famous and most popular was an extraordinary adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream, shifting Bottom to centre stage as the star, and delving even deeper into renaissance fairy folklore.
Come join the Owle Schreame and make history once more, as Shakespeare spins in the ground beneath you in the London premiere of the earliest surviving Shakespearean performance text, the earliest surviving Shakespearean adaptation, and a genuine piece of 17th century guerrilla theatre - hot on the heels of 5 star sell out runs at the Edinburgh Fringe 2018, the University of Chicago, and the Warsaw English Theater of Poland.
Filled with folk costume, live music, medieval puppetry and rowdy Fools, the Owle Schreame's A Midsummer Night's DROLL is rough, thrusting historical comedy designed for a drunken, bawdy crowd of peasants, prostitutes and thieves. This is illegal Shakespeare as even Shakespeare couldn't have imagined it.
Founded in 2008, for the past three years the Owle Schreame have been exploring, researching, and performing the obscure sub-genre of English Renaissance Theatre known only as the Drolls; the first professional company to have touched them, and the first to actively experiment with their flexibility in performance, since the 17th century. Combining Shakespearean Original Practice with concepts from immersive theatre, the Owle Schreame has developed a very particular approach which recreates something of the rough, raw, tongue-in-cheek, beer-in-hand theatre that the Drolls were designed for.
In that time the Owle Schreame have won multiple awards (including the Off West End Award and the 2017 VAULT People's Choice) and as well as being regular fixtures at annual theatre festivals such as VAULT and the Edinburgh Fringe, they've traveled with their work across the UK, America and Eastern Europe, accruing five star reviews and popular acclaim along the way.
Director, Producer: Brice Stratford
Cast: Brice Stratford, James Carney, Dan Van Garrett, Duncan Hendry, Laura Romer-Ormiston, Jonathan Ashby-Rock
The Skinny: "a hysterical, stomach-achingly funny version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream ... a stroke of genius ... nothing will prepare you for how concentrated the comedy becomes. The actors feed so constantly off the audience that we seem to all lose our heads at the same time ... left the whole room quite literally breathless with laughter ... The whole ensemble seem giddy and in their element together on stage, heckling each other when lines are botched and delighting in each other’s – and our – rowdy mirth ... If you’re after the kind of intense laughter that counts as exercise, you’ve found a show to work out to." https://www.theskinny.co.uk/festivals/edinburgh-fringe/theatre/a-midsummer-night-s-droll
Exeunt: "Hilarious. It’s rip-roaringly, grotesquely, anarchically funny. There is no fidelity to Shakespeare here: the only fidelity is to whatever scenes, songs or debauchery would hold the attention of whatever restless, half-shot audience could be cobbled together." http://exeuntmagazine.com/reviews/edinburgh-review-midsummer-nights-droll-thespace-mile/
The Edinburgh Guide: "a fresh and original take on a plot and set of characters that have already been hammed up on countless previous occasions. ... the raw energy of the actors and the sheer pace of the performance ... make for a very engaging and oddly uplifting show. It is a useful reminder that British silliness has a very long and disreputable history." https://www.edinburghguide.com/festival/2018/edinburghfringe/amidsummernightsdrollthespaceonthemilereview-19266