“Bringing together artists under a common cause, telling a good story well” is the ethos behind fringe theatre company Trickster, whose latest production Othello can be seen in the city next week.
Founded by Cellan Scott 16 years ago and formerly based in Studio Salford, the company established itself in Liverpool when he moved here in 2010. Previous productions Macbeth and original new play A Warning Against Idle Gossip were staged in the short-lived Studio on Upper Parliament Street; Othello – ‘the darkest tale of the human heart that Shakespeare ever wrote’, according to Trickster – will be performed in the Kazimier.
Collaborative efforts between the venue, its friend and neighbour Mello Mello and the Make Art Studio have all helped bring the show together – not least of all by providing a number of familiar faces you might normally see serving behind the bar among the cast (this includes Cellan himself. who promises to make a suitably fiendish Iago if past performances are anything to go by. Other cast members include Impropriety’s Paul Robinson, Trevor Fleming and Jack Darrell, with Leroy Liburd as Othello).
“The Kaz, Mello and Make Art have all given us the precious resource of rehearsal space and somewhere to perform, creative and technical advice, promotion and a shoulder to cry on. Also half the staff of Mello Mello seem to be in the bloody thing too,” says Cellan.
The support and vitality of Liverpool’s creative community has been vital to the success of Trickster and impressed its founder no end.
“I’ve been lucky with the people I’ve met. I’ve always said that the cornerstone to any creative endeavour is goodwill, it’s a precious currency and not to be squandered. The goodwill I’ve encountered, most especially on this project, has been consistently abundant. It’s an attitude like this that makes a strong foundation for any creative community and it’s clear that Liverpool’s creative community is very strong indeed.”
Othello is the second Shakespeare production in three Liverpool shows from Trickster, and it approaches the Bard in something of a trademark style – giving the plays a modern setting, and making sure the classic prose is delivered in such a way as to not go over the audiences’ heads.
“I’ve always loved it [Shakespeare] but it has a bad rep – too many declamatory style, RP sounding, emotionally disconnected productions have muddied the waters, it’s why people roll their eyes at the prospect of watching it,” Cellan explains. A modern context helps to establish a more immediate connection with the audience: “We’re holding up a mirror to our society so the reflection has to match, simple as.”
“When you have a group of actors who are emotionally connected to what they are saying, playing the reality and most importantly understand the text, well that’s when it can thrill and shock, have you laughing your head off or getting horny, hating the villain on one hand but urging them on on the other. There’s nothing like it.”
Othello is on at the Kazimier, Wolstenholme Square, from August 26 to 30. Tickets are £10/ £8 concs on the door (cash only) or can be reserved by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Semi-restricted balcony seating will be made available on the night of each performance if necessary (£5).