A highly physical dramatic collage
The hunt for the Beast of Exmoor provides the starting point for a taut psychological thriller about our need for Beasts and what happens as we hunt them.
A marine on the moor stalks the beast. A mysterious woman appears at his side – to help or to hinder? For the soldier, fresh from conflict, the hunt takes on a startling significance. And the tale takes on a life of its own, interweaving stories and myths from other times and other traditions to examine the nature of the beast – and the fate of the hero who hunts it.
Hercules and the Lion, Diana and Acteon, Beowulf and Grendel - even the Werewolf of Ilfracombe - they all make an appearance along with the Marines and other assorted victims and hunters.
This pacy two-hander uses lightning-quick changes of character, heightened physicality, music and projection to tell its story. Though created essentially for an adult audience, it is proving hugely popular with Drama Students at GCSE level and above because of the range of theatre skills and styles that it employs.
"The range of theatre skills and styles that it employed made for essential viewing for students currently working on devising projects."
"So useful for our upcoming exam and coursework!"
My students benefited from the way you put the different stories together, from the way the stories were expressions of our humanity - albeit the bestial side of our humanity - thus giving them a sense that theatre helps us to understand human nature. And they enjoyed the physical way in which the story was created.
I was delighted with their reactions which reinforced my feelings about theatre and the way we want it to develop in our school.
I would say it is suitable for year 10 and above - I'd even say it is suitable for year 9s who are very interested in theatre.
Looking forward to seeing you again - the Singapore students loved it - they wanted to see physical
theatre and it made their trip.
Winterbourne International Academy
The company offers students a vision of how to make exciting devised theatre with minimal set, costume and props, but masses of invention, energy and creative use of dramatic techniques and conventions. multi story people the stage with clearly-defined characters that spring to life, often in unexpected ways.
Year 11 students were enthralled for the full 70 mins. Captivated by characters that changed in front of their eyes, stories that unravelled only then to tangle into a web of half known truths, myths of a misty past and a harsh reality of the present. Leaving them wondering, questioning and entertained. The resulting reviews for the Ed Excel portfolio are an insight into the way young people think, written with considerable fervour and a credit to multi story and their talent to enthrall the teenager. Nothing short of magnificent.
Park School, Barnstaple
The execution of the roles and the overlapping of the myths and stories were excellent. It gave rise to some very heated discussion and analysis which has forced students to actually "think for themselves" to develop their understanding - a concept which is losing popularity.
It was essential viewing for GCSE live production exam questions.
Wadham School, Crewkerne
The range of theatre skills and styles that it employed made for essential viewing for students currently working on devising projects.
The students were also able to discuss methods of devising and production with the cast afterwards who told them about the need for research alongside playfulness in rehearsal. They also discussed the need for a narrative 'spine' that audiences can come back to as well as creating a mix of 2d and fully rounded characters.
'So useful for our upcoming exam and coursework!' Year 12 student.
'Awesome!' Year 11 student
photos by Guy Harrop