The readiness is all for Liam

THIS WOODEN O: London’s Globe theatre, once also known as the wooden O because of its circular design, is where year 13 Boys’ High student Liam Rowe is headed next year as a member of the Young Shakespeare Company. Liam raised his hoodie to help get in character for his role as vintage comic Grumio in Shakespeare’s play The Taming of the Shrew.

WHEN a director gives a lot of creative control to actors, the cast has greater capacity for a variety of ideas, says young Shakespearean Liam Rowe.

“A production isn’t limited to the director’s vision but the vision of the group.”

Liam is one of 24 actors selected from a regional festival, a national festival, then a final-cut intensive for the Young Shakespeare Company’s visit to London’s Globe Theatre next year.

Before the final selection, 48 young actors took part in the intensive selection process that involved workshops, rehearsals and performance. They were split into groups of 13-14 actors who had never worked together before.

Liam’s troupe took on The Taming of the Shrew — a challenging comedy in which Paduan fortune-seeker Petruchio plans to marry strong-willed — some might say difficult — Katherina. Petruchio uses psychological torments, such as keeping her from eating and drinking, to “tame” her into becoming an obedient bride.

Director Eleanor Bishop gave her actors a lot of freedom, says Liam.

“Our show was a 40-minute performance made up of key moments from the play. About 70 percent of our piece was improvised. Eleanor let us do what we wanted to do. Nothing seems rehearsed but what we put in, she would improve on.”

Actors had the opportunity to play multiple characters. In a scene in which Katherina is starved by Petruchio, Liam played Katherina.

“Eleanor loves to play with gender and sexuality so we had a gender-swap thing going on,” he says.

“In the first half of our play we had girls play men and boys play women. In the second half we swapped gender around.”

The actors also had the opportunity to play multiple characters. At various points in their show actors swapped pieces of costume with another actor, then took on that character.

Among characters Liam took on was Petruchio’s old servant, Grumio, a comedic figure who misinterprets his master’s speeches and commands. A mime workshop helped Leeim explore the character.

“Grumio offers comedic relief. He is a hunchback — although that’s up to interpretation. I saw him as using a lot of gestures to explain himself. You have to stay true to the character but there’s a lot of room for interpretation. I used the hunch to show submission to authority.”

The Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival’s annual visit to Globe Theatre is a goal Liam, a Year 13 Boys’ High School student, had set his heart on for the past four years. At the circular theatre on the Thames River south bank, Liam and the other Young Shakespeare Company members will attend workshops, tours and shows.

To crown it all Liam and the 24 Young Shakespeare Company actors get to perform on the Globe Theatre stage.

WHEN a director gives a lot of creative control to actors, the cast has greater capacity for a variety of ideas, says young Shakespearean Liam Rowe.

“A production isn’t limited to the director’s vision but the vision of the group.”

Liam is one of 24 actors selected from a regional festival, a national festival, then a final-cut intensive for the Young Shakespeare Company’s visit to London’s Globe Theatre next year.

Before the final selection, 48 young actors took part in the intensive selection process that involved workshops, rehearsals and performance. They were split into groups of 13-14 actors who had never worked together before.

Liam’s troupe took on The Taming of the Shrew — a challenging comedy in which Paduan fortune-seeker Petruchio plans to marry strong-willed — some might say difficult — Katherina. Petruchio uses psychological torments, such as keeping her from eating and drinking, to “tame” her into becoming an obedient bride.

Director Eleanor Bishop gave her actors a lot of freedom, says Liam.

“Our show was a 40-minute performance made up of key moments from the play. About 70 percent of our piece was improvised. Eleanor let us do what we wanted to do. Nothing seems rehearsed but what we put in, she would improve on.”

Actors had the opportunity to play multiple characters. In a scene in which Katherina is starved by Petruchio, Liam played Katherina.

“Eleanor loves to play with gender and sexuality so we had a gender-swap thing going on,” he says.

“In the first half of our play we had girls play men and boys play women. In the second half we swapped gender around.”

The actors also had the opportunity to play multiple characters. At various points in their show actors swapped pieces of costume with another actor, then took on that character.

Among characters Liam took on was Petruchio’s old servant, Grumio, a comedic figure who misinterprets his master’s speeches and commands. A mime workshop helped Leeim explore the character.

“Grumio offers comedic relief. He is a hunchback — although that’s up to interpretation. I saw him as using a lot of gestures to explain himself. You have to stay true to the character but there’s a lot of room for interpretation. I used the hunch to show submission to authority.”

The Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival’s annual visit to Globe Theatre is a goal Liam, a Year 13 Boys’ High School student, had set his heart on for the past four years. At the circular theatre on the Thames River south bank, Liam and the other Young Shakespeare Company members will attend workshops, tours and shows.

To crown it all Liam and the 24 Young Shakespeare Company actors get to perform on the Globe Theatre stage.

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