Two weeks ago, I had a Classics trip with my class to watch Antic Face’s Hippolytus at the Colepit, V&A. I was quite excited to see this production, for
- I had not read the play yet but vaguely knew the story, and
- It was going to be a very intimate production, with ~ 35 audience members since it was being put on in the underground tunnel connecting the underground to the V&A museum.
After visiting Tortilla with Eloise before the show, we met up with our teacher and classmates before walking along the tunnel to the entrance. It was a much smaller area than I was anticipating but I couldn’t wait!
While we waited, we watched the man sat directly in front of us waiting very patiently for the other audience members to arrive. There was a skull hanging above us and a headdress with a veil hanging on the other end. We were later told that the skull represented the goddess Artemis while the headdress represented Aphrodite.
The play overall was very good in my opinion. There were only four actors playing all of the different characters: Hippolytus, Phaedra, Artemis, Aphrodite, the Nurse, Theseus, the Messenger and the Chorus. There acting was particular well done, especially by Emma Hall (Aphrodite/Artemis/Phaedra). The a cappella singing was brilliant and added to the tense atmosphere, while the staging of each scene had clearly been well thought out and was highly effective in such a small, enclosed space.
The play was unabridged (as far as I’m aware) and I just thought it was brilliant. Despite it being awkward at times (i.e. when the actors made eye contact with you for a rather long time), everything was well done considering where it was performed. I particularly liked how they sent Hippolytus back out into the underground tunnel when he was exiled and then when he returned he was covered in blood as ran in and lay dying on the floor (right in front of me, I might add). – I wonder what the general public must have thought as he waited outside covered in blood!
Unfortunately the production has stopped now, otherwise I would have highly recommended you go to see it! Nevertheless, I hope I’ve given you a flavour of what it was like.
Have you been to the theatre recently?