Heartstring march into Melbourne with all female 'Coriolanus'
Running from the 27th of April to the 8th of May at the Brunswick Mechanics Institute, Heartstring have emerged with the intent of creating thought provoking work, while actively addressing the shortage of roles for female actors on our stages.
Company member and co-founder Elisa Armstrong explains, “We believe that women have been underrepresented on stage since Thespis first stepped out of the Chorus. The talented female actors of Melbourne have been designated roles of shrieking harpy and mute girlfriend for far too long. At Heartstring we aim to present all the facets of women by always having more than 50% of the roles being played by women.”
Shakespeare’s dynamic tale of Coriolanus takes us into a world where the Volscian Army marches on Rome, only for the warrior Coriolanus to drive them back. As the dust settles, though, she finds herself pressured into the snake pit that is political office. With famine threatening and jealous tribunes plotting against her, Coriolanus discovers that the will of people cannot be so easily beaten back with swords…
“Shakespeare is open to interpretation. His work is never presented exactly as it was done in the 17th century and by casting women we aim to bring a new relevance to his words, and show women in a multidimensional light. If women can play any male Shakespearean character, the canon for roles available has suddenly become much wider. Coriolanus is one of Shakespeare's most masculine plays, and we’re exploring how women take on these qualities; rage, vulnerability, ferocity, and present them to a 2016 audience”, adds company member and co-founder Jo Booth.
This new telling of one of Shakespeare’s last tragedies takes a hyper-masculine world full of betrayal and deceit, and flips it on its head. It’s a compelling re-imagining, not to be missed.