Fringe preview: Titania – A Solo Cabaret
Anna-Helena McLean challenges Shakespeare's characterisation of the fairy queen
This article is from 2015.
Having been a member of the Polish company Gardzienice, who are known for their ensemble theatre, Anna-Helena McLean admits surprise at her choice of a solo show: 'I had been involved in tragic Greek classics for a good while and wanted to do a play about the foolishness and joy in life.' Attracted to the fairy queen from Shakespeare's A Midsummer's Night's Dream, she set about challenging the bard's unsatisfying characterisation.
'I couldn't believe such a woman, queen, lover, priestess would be mute by the end of the play and wanted to give more depth to her journey with music and by telling the story from her perspective,' she says. Her training as a classical cellist has been put at the service of a 'dark cabaret' that has the audience acting as the chorus to Titania's tale, and promises to have them 'immersed in original, funky, fun music, humming along, wrapped up in the themes of love like fairies themselves.'
Rather than simply retelling Shakespeare's story of a lover's bet, McLean is intrigued as much at the prospect of both rescuing Titania from her marginalisation as she is in celebrating performance as a communion between audience and actor. 'The audience are as much a part of the outcome of the piece,' she affirms. Through her musicality, energy and vision, McLean promises an emotive, provocative take on a familiar comedy.
Summerhall, 560 1581, 7–30 Aug (not 10, 17, 24), 6.25pm, £12.50 (£10). Preview 5 Aug, £10.