Bell Shakespeare players took their latest Actors at Work production, Such Sweet Sorrow, to Granville South Performing and Creative Arts High School yesterday.
The troupe of four actors performed the one-hour play, based on Romeo and Juliet, to a captive audience of Year 9 dance, drama and support unit students with a minimal set and props.
Bell Shakespeare actor AJ talks about bringing the bard to NSW schools in the video, below.
‘‘This has been our best audience so far,’’ Bell Shakespeare player AJ said.
‘‘The kids at Granville South were just mad into it the whole time and asked a lot of great questions at the end.’’
The performances are truncated versions of Shakespeare’s plays which aim to engage NSW students in a way that helps them to understand the language and characters.
AJ said the actors pause to argue about the characters and frame the story by discussing what has happened or is about to.
‘‘We have a few fun moments where, for example, both myself and one of the other actors play Macbeth because I criticise him for the way he delivers his ‘Is this a dagger which I see before me?’ line,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s particularly satisfying when you perform for a group who don’t know the play.
‘‘They’re asking all these amazingly insightful questions because they come to it fresh and don’t have any pre-judgment.’’
Student Abdul Saadieh, 14, said the play held some lessons about relationships and how to get along. It was the first time he had watched live theatre.
‘‘There were some funny bits in it and the actors were good,’’ he said.
AJ said the minimal sets helped to demystify what being an actor entails.
‘‘We don’t use any lighting effects, there’s no barrier between us and the audience ... so I think that makes us more approachable,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s nice for them [the audience] just to understand that that’s what acting is — an elaborate form of storytelling.’’