After weeks of ruminating and several hours playing with colorful post-it notes, I have finally come up with doubles for The Bookend Project, which you may recall is a dual production of Titus Andronicus and The Tempest. The Project is this year's contribution to our Shakespeare IN THE RAW project, but is also primarily work for my Introduction to the Profession course.
I had to turn in a short paper for class a few weeks ago, and I was just awash in a sea of possibilities. My initial inclination was to subvert expectations. I want interesting doubles! Unfortunately it seems like we are not encouraged to expect the unexpected. It's weird or uncomfortable, or maybe it just won't succeed. And we're afraid of failure, aren't we? I'm less afraid of failing and more afraid of mediocrity. I'd rather fail spectacularly than play it safe. That's why I do Shakespeare IN THE RAW.
So in my short paper, I was trying to subvert the expected double of Lavinia and Miranda. I feel like that is where most companies would go with this. Well, I think more of the actors I hire. I think they can handle the challenge of playing outside the box. I think the audience can handle it too. Where I decided to go in my short paper was move based somewhat on instinct, but I did find basis for it in the text (though I won't overload you with that argument): Miranda and Saturninus. How cool! Now that I've teased you with that tidbit, that's not actually where I'll be doubling in this production.
Keeping in mind that this project is studying the arc of Shakespeare's revenge play, I wanted the doublings to reflect this binary of revenge/forgiveness. As I was moving the post-it notes around, it struck me that this has a lot to do with relationships. Of course. And not just relationships between characters (both within and across the two plays), but relationships between actors as well. I am about ready to dig into these but I wanted to offer up a taste of what I'll be discussing in my long paper:
and a discussion of why Aaron will not be doubled with a character from The Tempest