Stay home Shakespeare set to replace al fresco theatre

Something wicked this way still comes.

Theatre company Oddsocks Productions has been touring to Midlands Arts Centre Birmingham for a few years now and have become a regular date in the diary for local audiences who enjoy packing a picnic and heading out for some al fresco Shakespeare in the summer months whatever the weather.

The company’s style breaks down the usual ‘fourth wall’ between cast and audience and sends people away with a smile on their face having enjoyed the antics of a highly skilled cast of actors who have performed Shakespeare, played instruments, sung familiar songs and probably stolen some of their quiche in the interval. This summer their planned performance of The Comedy of Errors is in the balance due to the Covid-19 crisis and may not be able to go ahead, but that hasn’t stopped the company from planning ways to entertain local audiences until the future becomes clearer.

They have created a new, live, Stay Home Shakespeare performance, to be performed on Friday 15th May at 7pm

The Oddsocks family, which consists of Dad Andy, Mum Elli and 19 year old daughter Charlie, despite being stuck in isolation is bringing laughter from their home to yours with their newest show… A thirty-minute comedy live-streamed performance of Macbeth!

They are asking local people who will miss them this summer to join them, as they attempt to tell the story using Shakespeare’s text, (a little trimmed!), seven cameras (three mobile phones, three good laptops and a dodgy old one) and a range of household items they can find around the house.

Director, Andy Barrow (Macbeth) is looking forward to the experiment with some trepidation: “I have played the role many times before in various Oddsocks versions but never with a colander instead of a soldiers helmet on my head. This will be a real seat of the pants experience”.

Creative Producer of Oddsocks, Andy’s wife Elli Mackenzie ,is playing Lady Macbeth amongst other roles in the live performance and told us, “The whole rehearsal process has been fun in itself. Our director is based in California and our vision mixer in Margate, and connecting with them each evening to rehearse has been a great way to connect with the outside world”. Daughter Charlie who plays MacDuff and Banquo chips in “While my mates have been chilling out watching live-stream content at home, I’ve been roped in to create some! It’s what I’m used to though as it’s a family business.”

Charlie is an emerging actress in her own right as she is part of the famous Nottingham TV Workshop, responsible for training actors such as Samantha Morton, Vicky McClure and Jack O’Connell.

“We are really looking forward to having a go at this new way of performing for people,” Andy added. “If it’s good weather on Friday, we would love it if people took their laptops into the garden and sat with a picnic to watch just to recreate that Oddsocks al fresco vibe. There will be a Q&A afterward and people can get in touch with questions and really take part, tell us what worked, what didn’t, what they would like to see us attempt next.”

Stay Home Shakespeare is produced in association with American-based The Streaming Theatre and Director of Photography, Kee Ramsorrun, who will be vision-mixing live from his home in Margate.

The performance starts at 7pm and you can watch live by clicking the following link to Oddsocks’ website.

The performance is free but if you are able to make a donation of any amount to support the cast and crew whose theatre work has been decimated by the current crisis you can do so here.