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The Taming of the Shrew meets the 80s rave scene - An Interview with Get Over It Productions’ founders.

The Taming of the Shrew meets the 80s rave scene - An Interview with Get Over It Productions’ founders.

24 August 2016 Stephanie Brandhuber

In celebration of their ten-year anniversary of performing with the Camden Fringe, all-female theatre group Get Over It Productions are bringing their own unique version of Shakespeare’s classic The Taming of the Shrew to the Etcetera Theatre in Camden. Set in 1989 at the height of the rave culture, the Bard gets a retelling in a way that’s never been seen before . We sit down with Velenzia Spearpoint and Paula Benson, the mother/daughter duo who set up Get over Productions, to talk about their radical retelling of this well-known tale.

London Calling: What makes this production of Taming of the Shrew different from others before it?

Velenzia Spearpoint
: The obvious differences are that it’s set in a rave in 1989, it’s only an hour-long, and has an all-female cast!

LC: Why set it in 1989?

Paula Benson: It’s set in 1989 because that was the height of the rave scene that completely changed youth culture in Britain. People came out of the previously very segregated and posy clubs and into the fields, and it was literally “one vibe, one tribe”. Even the violence on the football terraces subsided. This backdrop lends itself to feelings of liberation and questioning of gender equality.

LC: How do you think giving the play a more modern setting will affect audience members?

VS: As with all our pieces we hope that the highly abridged version and the setting makes it more accessible to a modern audience. And it’s not just for theatre or Shakespeare buffs, it’s also definitely for a non-theatre going audience. Regardless of the setting, we always aim to tell the story, which is paramount, and even though we keep the original language we endeavour to bring a fresh understanding to the piece.

LC: How do you think having an all-female cast is significant for this play?

PB
: We are an all-female theatre company; therefore as with previous productions we just "play the characters” and often we even forget that we’re all women. However, this piece has particular relevance because how does one approach what’s deemed a highly misogynistic play with one's feminist hat on? This process has been challenging and we have most definitely put our slant on it, but we haven’t changed the integrity of the story and ultimately we will let the audience decide for themselves.

LC: How did Get Over It Productions start?

VS: It was co-founded in 2004 and it was largely based in physical theatre. The founding members of Get Over It Productions were veterans of the Edinburgh Fringe, and didn’t deliberately set out to be an all-female theatre company, it just so happened that we were all women. It was an organic process that developed and by the time Camden Fringe was in its second year, we platformed our first production Get Over It, Hamlet! at Etcetera Theatre and here we are now celebrating a decade at the Camden Fringe.

LC: What do you hope to achieve with your all-female productions?

PB
: Firstly, we hope to give women the opportunity to play all the parts! Secondly, we like to give the audience a unique theatrical experience - not only in the ‘gender bending’ sense but also in the fascination that arises when a woman brings to life a character that was essentially written for a man. Finally, we find it fun and nurturing to be in an all-female environment.

LC: Is there a play or work that Get Over It hasn’t done yet but that you’d love to see happen?

VS: We’d love to play with Dickens which we haven’t as yet because we’ve been too busy beatifying the Bard!

LC: What’s one of your favourite theatres or locations in London where Get Over it Productions has performed and why?

PB: Obviously, the Etcetera Theatre is our theatrical home as they gave us our first gig and we will be eternally grateful to Zena & Michelle for that. The Cockpit is an incredible space  - we did The Tempest there last year and rehearse in the studios all year round. Dave and all the staff are just delicious. We also loved doing our glam-rock Macbeth at The Roundhouse and with the loss of Bowie this year it has become even more pertinent.

LC: What’s next on the agenda for Get over it Productions?

VS
: So much! We are now an associate company at the Bread & Roses Theatre so we will definitely be putting on some productions there and we have lots of projects in the pipeline from new writing to revivals and even more Shakespeare - but we will be keeping these under our theatrical bonnets for now!
 
Get Over It Production’s Taming of the Shrew will run from the 25th – 27th August at the Etcetera Theatre, 265 Camden High St, London NW1 7BU. 8:30pm, Tickets £8, £7.50 concessions. Book online here.

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