Before the comedies there was The Two Gentlemen of Verona. After the tragedies there was The Two Noble Kinsmen. Perfect Shadow Mingled Yarn presents the two plays that bookend Shakespeare's career as a playwright.
Together, two fairytales unfold, two different and difficult examinations of love: one light, one dark, one young, one old, one comic, one tragic. Performing these plays in rep, Perfect Shadow Mingled Yarn will explore how much love changes across Shakespeare's career, and how much it stays the same.
Cast: Matthew Cosgrove, Thomas Durant Pritchard, Laura Elsworthy, Elliot Fitzpatrick, Lucy Fyffe, Amelia Kirk, Henryk Roberts, Fraser Wall
Directors: Rafaella Marcus and Matthew Monaghan
Designer: Sophia Ahmed. Lighting Designer: Drew Turner
First performed in the early 1590s, The Two Gentlemen of Verona was possibly Shakespeare's earliest play, and certainly his first comedy. Over 20 years later, he collaborated with John Fletcher on what was to be his last work, The Two Noble Kinsmen, first performed around 1613-14.
The similarities between the plots of these two plays are striking: both are romances, set in the court and the forest, both are about a male friendship which is disrupted by love of the same woman. However, in tone and ending they are startling different: The Two Gentlemen of Verona light and looking forward to the comedies it preceded, The Two Noble Kinsmen dark, echoing the tragedies it followed.
Why did Shakespeare choose to tell such similar stories at the beginning and end of his career as a playwright, and why did he tell them so differently? A not-to-be-missed opportunity to see two rarely performed plays, this ambitious production speculates on what changed in those years – and discovers what remains constant.
Perfect Shadow Mingled Yarn is a theatre company created by English Literature graduates Rafaella Marcus and Heidi Stancliffe. They are fascinated by myths and archetypes, histories and legends, tradition children's stories and literary classics. Expect Greek gods and monsters, Medieval romances, Renaissance lovers and fools, Gothic melodrama and time-honoured novels.
Perfect Shadow Mingled Yarn is so called because it has a dual structure. Perfect Shadow produces existing works, mainly by Greek and Renaissance playwrights. Mingled Yarn makes new stories out of old: working with writers to produce contemporary drama based on recognizable narratives. As Perfect Shadow Mingled Yarn they devise engaging theatre which examines not just the story but why we tell it.
Rafaella Marcus (Director):
About to begin studying on Birkbeck College's MFA in Theatre Directing, Rafaella's directing credits include Laughing Boy, a devised site-specific production based on Hamlet, The Little Prince, translated and adapted by Theo Merz (OUDS Tour 2011), Troilus and Cressida, The Odyssey (Oxford Playhouse), Ellen McLaughlin's Iphigenia and Other Daughters, All's Well That Ends Well and Frank Marcus's Blind Date. Assistant directing credits include Frank Marcus's The Killing of Sister George (Arts Theatre) directed by Iqbal Khan.
Matthew Monaghan (Director):
Currently studying on the MA in Theatre Directing at RADA, Matthew’s directing credits include Nielson’s Penetrator, Kane’s Crave, Ridley’s Mercury Fur, Kane’s 4.48 Psychosis, Queer (a site specific devised piece), his own adaptation of Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber, Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure and Philip Ridley’s Vincent River. Assistant directing credits include Bond’s Have I None (Lyric Hammersmith), directed by Sean Holmes, and Saturday Night, directed by Geoff Bullen.