Direction: Polly Findlay
Designer: Merle Hensel
Dramaturgy: Zoë Svendsen
Lighting: Lee Curran
Music & sound: Dan Jones
Movement: Imogen Knight
Fights: Bret Yount
Cast: Colin Anthony Brown, Joe Bannister, Ian Bonar, Peter Bray, Elspeth Brodie, Keir Charles, Geoffrey Freshwater, Lizzie Hopley, Joan Iyiola, Tony Jayawardena, Christopher Middleton, Ken Nwosu, Ian Redford, Jay Simpson, Sharon Small.
Production photographs: Manuel Harlan
Written in 1592, some parts of Arden of Faversham are thought to be written by Shakespeare. What makes it a fascinating play, however, is the way that it uses a switch in genre to pack an intense emotional punch and implicate the audience in the dubious morality of its go-getting characters. You can order our edition of the play here: Although titles a tragedy, the play itself centres on the increasingly wild efforts of two would-be murderers to kill the titular Arden, on the orders of his wife, Alice. Each scene feels like it is built in a different comic genre, from slapstick to verbal repartee. By the seventh attempt (we edited it down to five), we, as the audience, are longing for Will and Shakebag to finally succeed, the play turns the mirror on us, as we, along with Alice, realise the reality of what we’ve wished for. Arden’s blood refuses to be washed away – after death, Arden’s blood becomes a proxy protagonist, resisting reassure and transforming the play from comedy to tragedy.
The edit of the play we created for this production can be bought here.