To The Elephant is an ensemble of actors dedicated to telling the stories of the world to the people of the world. We love Peter Brook’s epic story-telling with its inclusive vision of humanity and aim to reach out in the same spirit beyond national and cultural boundaries, creating theatrical experiences that share our common condition and celebrate our differences.
Our actors have diverse histories, cultures and orientations. We work closely together, celebrating our diversity without necessarily needing to draw attention to it. We are committed to fluid and inclusive casting, our most recent production at The Rose Theatre on Bankside embracing both ethnically diverse and gender neutral casting which is central to our vision.
Plans for 2017 include Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, Racine’s Andromache and Lope de Vega’s Fuente Ovejuna, and we are currently working towards a tour that will visit the remote corners of the UK and Ireland. Further plans include a tour to the Andalucia region of Spain.
These plays from the classical repertoire look at the themes of democracy and war, celebrity and ambition. Where does justice lie when a people rise up in ‘democratic’ protest but that protest becomes violent? How do we define terrorism?
by Simon Fearn on 22nd August 2016 - Broadway Baby
"An incredibly enjoyable adaptation that trips along at a tremendous speed"
Troilus and Cressida explores star-crossed love and political machinations in the midst of the Trojan War. This stripped back and streamlined performance from Shakespeare on the Level is a great argument for the play’s rediscovery, delivering a fast-paced wartime drama…
Christopher Royle’s Ulysses is undoubtedly star of the show, bringing great gravitas to the scheming Greek, whilst James Meteyard’s Aeneas is equally slippery, with an icy, reptilian quality…this is an incredibly enjoyable adaptation that trips along at a tremendous speed; a must-see for anyone looking to get acquainted with a forgotten Shakespeare classic.
Shakespeare on the Level’s Troilus and Cressida… remarkably refreshing in its lack of fringe-ness.
Some cross-gendered casting is a welcome choice to improve balance between men and women… Susie Kimnell’s Helen and Louis Bowen’s Troilus standing out as particularly strong…Littlewood … sets Troy in the round, and skilfully uses the diagonals so the audience can always see, and fight director Tom Jordan’s choreography also suits the space.
The story is cut down to a manageable length, maintains clarity and has a clear design concept. Though not a particularly fringe approach to Shakespeare, this is a well-staged production with a cast of emerging talent.
Troilus and Cressida runs through 27th August.
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Shakespeare on the Level 400
Genre: Classical and Shakespeare
Venue: theSpaceUK at Niddry Street
Festival: Edinburgh Fringe
A masterclass in how to stage a Shakespeare tragedy in a way that captures the audience and makes them an integral part of the show. This production oozes quality from every pore.
To theSpaceUK, Niddry Street for Troilus and Cressida in the round and a seventy-five minute staging that could easily exhaust a critic’s range of superlatives, so much was there to admire from the Devon based company, Shakespeare on the Level.
A bare stage and some atmospheric sound creates an aura of quiet suspense, rudely shattered by the successive arrival of the feuding Trojans and Greeks, laying down the bones of this complex Shakespearian tragedy. It is a labyrinthine tale but the actors’ energy and some very inventive staging from director Kate Littlewood ensure that the storyline always remains clear and the action never falters from the utterly compelling.
So much attention has been paid to those tiny details that make this a production that will last long in the memory. Costumes ranged from the exotic, flamboyant even for the rich and powerful down to the more prosaic for those of humbler stock. Music (from John O’Hara) either set or matched the mood on stage, from the ethereal through to the downright triumphant. And the sound set, designed by Chris Tuffin together with the extremely ambitious lighting states programmed by Ben O’Grady supported and complemented the on-stage action.
But it’s the actors who set this piece alight. Pace, purpose, diction, characters and movement are all of the highest order. Tight cueing and selected use of silence build the tension and the fight choreography was fast, realistic and consummately executed. Whilst it’s perhaps invidious to single anyone out from this universally excellent troupe of eleven, mention must be made of the passionate, emotive Isabel Sutton as Cressida. Safeena Ladha also displayed great versatility in her roles as Cassandra, Andromache and Menelaus whilst Christopher Royle was strident and powerful in his dual roles of Priam and Ulysses. It’s a heavy play but welcome light relief came from Atilla Akinci as Thersites and the mercurial, grape-feasting James Mear provided a very realistic Patroclus, friend to Achilles.
This was a masterclass in how to stage a Shakespeare tragedy that captures the audience and makes it a part of the show. This production oozed quality from every pore, using the four corners of the stage to full effect and every part of the auditorium as a possible entrance and exit.
What you’ve got here is RSC quality at Fringe prices. Absolutely compelling viewing from start to finish and an absolute “must see” for any Shakespeare lover. Two days left, so get your skates on.
The performance is compelling and despite many actors taking on more than one part fully convincing. The set allows for rapid, fluid and effortless scene changes. The direction has utilised the space perfectly turning the potential disadvantage of having the audience all around the stage into an asset. Entrances and exits are highly dynamic keeping the energy high and further helps create a multi-dimensional world.
4 Stars - **
Troilus and Cressida at TheSpace on Niddry Street on 26th and 27th at 1.10pm
Author: Sara Knight
Posted At: 26 August 2016
"A masterclass in how to stage a Shakespeare tragedy..."
An overwhelming review from Tim Wilcock @FringeReview
@ShakespeareOtl fabulous show today guys! Such fantastic and gripping performances from everyone. A brilliant piece of theatre!
Big up @ShakespeareOtl for a really gripping rendition of Troilus & Cressida. Fantastic acting across the board!
Brilliant version of Troilus & Cressida @ShakespeareOtl, thoroughly enjoyed it. Well done!
Some superb performances this afternoon in @ShakespeareOTL Troilus and Cressida .I saw fuller version once by RSC but enjoyed this one more!
Fearless & exciting performance from @ShakespeareOtl , Agamemnon played by a woman was refreshing and powerful
Congrats to @shakespeareOTL on Troilus & Cressida. Really enjoyed the production.
ANA Retweeted JamieLittlewood
Go see this company of bright young actors and our @J_Littlewood_
Audience review, John Rodie
"...the brutality and scheming of war is wonderfully portrayed by this company...It would be an error to miss.."
Alan Donnachie – 19 Aug 2016, 4:13pm
Brilliant acting and direction in this challenging, entertaining and fast moving piece. Not a huge Shakespeare fan but this is really worth seeing for the shear hard work by actors!
Peter Watson – 20 Aug 2016, 5:26pm
Powerful and relevant. This young company brings a vision of war and displacement that makes you reach for the newspapers and cry for humanity.