Ophelia's Shadow

Shakespeare has never been more punk.

THE ADELAIDE FRINGE FESTIVAL: 28 FEB - 4 MARCH 2017

The Bakehouse Studio Theatre: 7:30pm

Image by Ella Wilkes photography. Modelled by Miriam Slater (centre), Frances McNair (left), Jaymie Collins (top), Lucy Matthews (right).

Image by Ella Wilkes photography. Modelled by Miriam Slater (centre), Frances McNair (left), Jaymie Collins (top), Lucy Matthews (right).

Ophelia's Journey...

Today Shakespeare’s Hamlet is often viewed as theatrical tradition rather than a political and social revolution. This is far from the case in Acoustic Theatre’s new feminist rock-musical Ophelia’s Shadow. A radical adaptation, Ophelia’s Shadow will explore the final days of the illusive heroine's life.   

While Hamlet rages against the marriage of his mother to his uncle, Ophelia is shocked by his erratic and unstable moods. Intimidated and threatened by her father Polonius, she is forced to reveal her relationship with the young prince. Polonius insists that Ophelia cut ties with him. While Hamlet’s unusual behaviour escalates, Polonius and the King incite Ophelia to spy on him.  Unable to repair the damage done between herself and Hamlet, she continues to obey her father until he is killed. Hamlet flees Denmark, guilty of murdering the father of the woman he professed to love. Distraught, Ophelia is left with little else. She is proclaimed mad by the living and slips into an early watery grave.

Controlling her body, her will and her life, Ophelia is used by her father and King for political gain, but what of the woman herself? To what extent did she choose her own fate? And is the label ‘madwoman’ simply a means to discredit radical women that finally refuse to submit? Incorporating elements of burlesque, physical theatre and Grotowski’s Poor Theatre, Ophelia’s Shadow will explore Ophelia’s emotional journey throughout the final days of her life.

Adapted and scored by Lucy Matthews, in association with Shadowhouse Pits and starring Miriam Slater and Frances McNair, Ophelia’s Shadow aims to find the intersection between Shakespeare, modern music and experimental theatre. A radical adaptation, it uses Shakespeare’s texts in conjunction with rock music to a to ask important questions pertaining to the modern day. From this exploration, we hope to show how Ophelia’s Shadow still exists as a ghost that haunts our mythology, and the autonomy of women everywhere.

Cast/Band

Lucy Matthews – Artistic Director Acoustic Theatre/Shadow 3/Guitar

Lucy is a Canberra based director, producer, actor and musician. She founded Acoustic Theatre in 2015 with the aim of creating an avenue for artists to showcase original theatre, music and live performance art. She wrote, produced, co-directed and composed the company’s first production “The Last Time” as a part of the Belconnen Arts Centre’s Artist in Residency Program. She received a Canberra Critics award for her roles in this production. Lucy is the composer, producer and director of Acoustic Theatre’s second production, has been performed at the Canberra Theatre Centre and is now travelling to the Adelaide Fringe Festival in 2017.  Previous to her work with Acoustic Theatre, Lucy operated a small independent theatre group Enlighten Theatre. In 2010 she composed and co-directed “What Are You?” with business partner Braiden Dunn. The show was performed at the Gorman House Ralph Wilson Theatre in a partnership with Janine Ayers Aerial Dance (JAAD). For her work on the project, Lucy was awarded the ACT Board of Senior Secondary School Studies, Certificate of Excellence for Visual and Performing Arts. 

Lucy has worked as an actor in the ACT region for over seven years and continues to perform in theatre and burlesque. Recently, she has been involved in several Shadow House Pits productions: “The Mask of Lucy Raven’s Eyes” (2015), “The Serpent’s Tale: Theatre in a Car” (2014) and “Our Lady By the Beach Over the Sea” (2013). She has also worked closely with KREWD performing in “A KREWD Choral” and “A KREWD Embrace” as a part of Canberra's YouAreHere Festival. In addition to theatre, Lucy has studied music from a young age and is trained in clarinet, bass clarinet, tenor saxophone, guitar and piano.

Joe Woodward - Artistic Director Shadow House PITS (Associate Partner) /Voice Actor “Lord Polonius”

Joe Woodward is an independent theatre producer, writer, director and teacher. His first professional theatre appointment was an actor/Educational Officer at La Boite Theatre in Brisbane, where he continued training as an actor and as a director. He was subsequently appointed Coordinator of the professional theatre-in-training company the E.C.D.P. based at the theatre. Later positions include: Artistic Director of The Jigsaw Theatre Company (Canberra) in 1980; Producer/director/entrepreneur as part of David Bates and Joe Woodward (1980-81); Co-Owner/Manager (with David Bates) of Pie in The Sky Theatre and Bar (P.I.T.S) 1981-84; Director/Executive Officer of Stage Coach Theatre School (1985-1994). From 1986- 19889 he was a member of the ACT Arts Development Board and Co-Chair in 1988/89 of the Performing Arts Committee with Anne Edgeworth. He is currently Coordinator of Performing Arts at Daramalan College in Canberra while still working as Artistic Director of Shadow House PITS.

With over twenty-five produced plays to his credit, texts are now being produced in locations around the globe. Scripts are available here through this website. As a performer, Woodward specialises in live play and poetry reading and radio plays.

Jaymie Collins - Stage and Production Manager/ Francisco

Jaymie has been involved in some form of creative pursuit pretty much from the day she learnt to walk (her cousins can attest to this). Since that day she went on to further nurture that passion through her involvement in numerous dance concerts and school productions (both onstage and off). However this passion was put on the backburner for a while as Jaymie focused her attention on completing a double degree in Journalism and International Studies. Since graduating from the University of Canberra, Jaymie was given the opportunity to reignite that passion in January of this year when she became Stage Manager for Acoustic Theatre’s production “The Last Time: A Story of Love, Lust and Desperation.” In this position Jaymie was able to step back into the world of theatre whilst also honing her organisational skills and embracing the pedantic side of her nature, which her family and friends have greatly appreciated.

Miriam Slater – Ophelia

Miriam Slater is a multi-practiced artist primarily focusing on performance and visual art.

They have been a continuing member of the Canberran performance troop A KREWD Ensemble, performing interactive and challenging performances, including consistently participating in the local YouAreHere Festival from 2014-2016. They have also performed with larger companies such as Shadow House PITS and Little Dove Theatre Company. Miriam was contracted as Co-Director and Choreographer for Acoustic Theatre’s premier production “The Last Time.” They have also produced and created original art pieces with other emerging artists, as well as traveling to Bangkok, Thailand to participate in private Butoh training with professional performer Bo Kittiphon. Miriam’s developing skill set has also lead to them being contracted as Movement Director for Daramalan Theatre Company’s upcoming production of Bertolt Brecht’s “The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui”.  Miriam has also undertaken formal education in the areas of visual and performance art. After receiving a Certificate III in Performance from the Canberra Academy of Dramatic Art, and completing a Bachelor of Visual Arts from the Australian National University, Miriam has spent the past year post formal study to further develop their skills in the realms of music, dance, as well as maintaining their artistic practice

Luke Middlebrook - Hamlet/Bernardo

Luke Middlebrook is an Australian actor, creator, producer, and performance graduate of the Australian Academy of Dramatic Art (AADA). Luke’s work ranges from classical and contemporary theatre, film, operas, and musicals. After working as a guest lecturer teaching Shakespeare Seminars, Luke performed in Patrick Marber's After Miss Julie in Dublin, Ireland.

Since returning to Australia, Luke has performed in Bazajet (Pinchgut Opera), and The London Palladium Production of The Sound of Music (The Gordon Frost Organisation). Luke has stage and production managed a series of events, operas and the largest short play festival in the world. He has modeled for publications and brands internationally (inc. Mr World Australia Finals, 2014).

Benjamin T.B. Russell – Laertes/Horatio

Benjamin T.B. Russell grew up in Canberra and always had a love of performing. He was seen most recently in Casanova as the title role, (CAT award Nomination) directed by 'Everyman Theatre's' Jarrad West and in Much Ado About Nothing at Canberra REP (2015). His previous Canberra theatre work included Canberra Youth Theatre, NUTS, Centrepeice Theatre and a few Short and Sweet festivals. Ben has taught drama in the UK to Prep school children and has directed shows of his own. Ben's early theatre development was under the guide of Joe Woodward (Shadow House PITS) at Daramalan College and short courses at NIDA. After a year of short films, corporate videos and advertisement work Ben decided to set his sights on the wider world and is currently completing a full time course in Screen Performance at WAAPA. Ophelia's Shadow will be Ben's return to the acting scene and he plans to travel to America for a short time later 2017.

Frances McNair – Shadow 1

Frances McNair is a performer and writer based in Canberra. Over the past five years she has had the opportunity to perform in a variety of shows, which range from experimental physical theatre to traditional musicals. In mid 2016 she began writing her own material and was one of the co-writers for the bite sized show "MILF Camp". This show has lead Frances to become one of the founding mothers of the surrealist sketch comedy group “Sweaty Pits”.  This is not Frances' first work with Acoustic Theatre, starring as "Ellie" in their debut musical "The Last Time". Frances echo's Acoustic Theatre's belief in creating original work which encourage audience members to question and think deeply about the world around them. She is thrilled to be working with such a passionate and innovative company once again. 

Bambi Valentine - Shadow 2/Marcellus

Bambi Valentine is a versatile emcee, performer, director and producer. She is the artistic director of Canberra-based experimental theatre and entertainment company KREWD. KREWD is also mother company to acts such as MC KREWD, A KREWD Ensemble and The KREWD Sisters (comic-duo collaboration with Anna Judith). She has directed, performed in, and produced over 30 shows of her own with KREWD and has also performed in numerous shows with companies including Little Dove Theatre Art, Shadow House PITS, Canberra Youth Theatre and The Acting Company.  

Hannah Feldman - Bass

From the fruitful and vibrant music scene of Fremantle, Western Australia, Hannah has been performing with her cello, bass, and voice for the past 11 years. Now based in Canberra, she breaks out the guitar more often than other strings, with an ever growing love for the outdoors and songs around a camp fire. In and amongst her adventures, and job of taking science demonstrations around the country, she now travels with experiments in one hand and guitar in the other, taking both passions on the road several times per year. Hannah plays guitar with the onstage band in Ophelia’s Shadow, and is absolutely loving her chance to release the punk within.