A wrangling of ideas, a myriad of thoughts...
Why a Marlowe? Why now and why at The Tristan Bates as part of The Camden Fringe? These are all questions asked when I suggested we present Tamburlaine as Lazarus Theatre Company’s sixth offering for the tenth Camden Fringe Festival.
Over the last seven, nearly eight years we have always looked for those plays that we want to investigate, explore and reimagine. Marlowe being one of the earliest of the early modern writers cries out for rediscovery and I felt it time to have a bash at one of the greatest plays of the period, one of the biggest and most controversial. Why controversial? Because it’s one of the most blasphemous, arrogant and anti-establishment pieces of the period – and we love it.
Lazarus has always been about the ensemble - how do we create work with a group of actors. The plays we choose are epic, but more importantly have actor detail at the heart, and that detail keeps the pulse, the drive and the energy.
We start with the text that has usually been edited prior to workshops. The process begins with a fine toothcomb analysis of the language into “senses.” We get things on their feet very early on, we feel the words in our bodies, we then dance them into staging. Always with the knowledge we know what we mean, we know what the writer is saying and are armed with that knowledge.
The Camden Fringe has always offered a space to explore, a place to take risks. When we began in 2008 at The Camden Peoples Theatre with “Elektra” set in the troubles of Mugabe’s empire, we knew the festival was special. Instead of being worried or concerned by what we wanted to do, Michelle and Zena from The Camden Fringe offered support and encouragement.
Over the years the festival has developed - in those days tickets had to be £7.50, we turned up with Suzy the smoke machine and a 6 meter flag of Zimbabwe, we rehearsed in a park around the corner and a friend’s flat. Now it’s a well-oiled machine, the costs have increased significantly, but we have found a new home at the Tristan Bates - a space that inspires, challenges and pursues artistic excellence and audience experience.
Why do we come back? Because we love it - the chance to find new members of our audience, the chance to try something else.
Ricky Dukes – Director, Lazarus Theatre Company