The School of Night originated with the late Ken Campbell, among whose many accomplishments lay a remarkable understanding and insight into the making of Shakespearian theatre.
The offspring of improvisation and off-the-cuff, The School of Night can be, and by some audience members probably is, taken as light entertainment. However, like the deceptively simple poetry of Wendy Cope, there have been some underlying ‘serious concerns’.
Unlike the eclectic attributions of several scholars and others of Shakespeare’s plays to such curious candidates as the Earl of Southampton and even Christopher Marlowe (despite his death before the appearance of much of Shakespeare’s work), Campbell discreetly suggested, through demonstration, that Shakespeare’s texts may owe more to Shakespeare’s fellow actors (yes, you read correctly) than to any unlikely aristocratic interventions.
The above paragraph might be said to be the (or more properly a) sub-text of Campbell’s original intention. That, however, was then and The School of Night has necessarily moved on and emphases seem to have shifted somewhat toward a greater concentration on the art of improvisation itself.
Although for those who saw the School of Night in its earlier incarnation, there is a sad sense of ‘Hamlet without the Prince’, current performers Joseph Chance, Josh Darcy, Dylan Emery, Sean McCann, Adam Meggido and Oliver Senton keep the creative flame burning bright.
Using the raw material of audience experience, the School of Night draws iambic lines from the raw material of everyday life, and like modern-day Higgenses, posits that any of us are capable of creating something like iambically rhyming poetry given sufficient stimulation.
The School of Night’s concerns are, however, wider than the simply scholarly, and in any case are constrained by the practical considerations of time and space in a theatrical environment.
Never rushed and always measured (in every sense), The School of Night continues firmly in its progress.
Show Times: 7-26 August (not 15), 3:05pm
Ticket Prices: £9-10 (Two for one Aug 7)