Four different Shakespeare roles over nine days!

A big ask? Well, yes, but it’s also great to get back to it, says Ross Muir, one of the professionals who will Zooming together in a very different year for Worthing’s Rainbow Shakespeare.

Monday, 6th July 2020, 12:22 pm
Ross Muir
Ross Muir

Rainbow Shakespeare in Highdown Gardens is usually one of the great summer highlights in Worthing.

And the company will be keeping up their tradition – in very altered times.

Instead of being staged, the plays will be read on Zoom, and Shakespeare fans are invited to join the professionals in the reading: first-come-first-served, no application fee, no audition, no rehearsal, although they will be coached over the phone, ahead of the day, by Rainbow artistic director Nick Young. Rather than two plays over two weeks, the company will offer four plays – two comedies, two tragedies – over four nights, each at 7.30pm – with the audience watching the presentations live streamed on Rainbow’s new YouTube channel.

Coming up are Romeo & Juliet (Friday, July 17), Much Ado About Nothing (Saturday, July 18), Macbeth (July 24) and As You Like It (July 25) – all in celebration of the 21st anniversary of Rainbow’s Highdown residency.

Ross will play Mercutio in Romeo & Juliet, Benedict in Much Ado, the title role in Macbeth and Jaques in As You Like It: “I am very excited by it. I was so disappointed that we were

cancelling for this summer, which obviously we had to do. This is a great idea for us to keep our presence out there and also to try to raise some funds for next year. And the exciting thing is that it is going to be open for anybody to join in, to bid for a role alongside the professional actors. It could be quite spectacular. The relationship you build up in a rehearsal room means that you start to be able to read each other and to get to know each other’s rhythms, but with this, with members of the public joining us, it could be very exhilarating!”

Ross is already pondering just what he might pick up from his desk when it comes to Macbeth’s dagger speech…

“I think Nick might want to do a few small rehearsals with some of the main parts so that it hangs together, but other than that it will be just very much in the moment and go with the flow.The wonderful thing about reading Shakespeare is the dramatic poetry. It really does paint pictures which is why you don’t really need big complicated sets to do Shakespeare. I am really excited by the dramatic poetry and will really relish getting into it in some of the speeches. It will be a performance, but obviously without the live interaction you will get with actors on stage, looking at each other with a wry look or a twinkle or a sparkle. But I think it is really important to do something. If you do anything positive, I think it has a positive ripple effect. So many people were disappointed about not being able to go to Highdown, but this will give them something.

“And it will be great to see some of my acting friends. I live alone, and that has been quite tough at times, though I imagine it has been tough in other ways for families all living together. But I have missed seeing my friends.

“It has been frustrating. But I am ever hopeful for the future, ever hoping that our theatres might open again by the autumn.”

And with that in mind, Ross has secured himself a role in this year’s Worthing panto, Belle’s father in Beauty and The Beast: “The panto is such a big financial earner for so many regional theatres they will be desperate to be able to go ahead with it this year.”

To take part, email [email protected]

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