THE FACE OF DECADENCE

THE DUCHESS OF MALFI

ST GILES-IN-THE-FIELDS CHURCH, WEST END, 2017

Scena Mundi’s first foray into Jacobean tragedy, this production of Webster’s Duchess of Malfi brings to life the dark, furtive and macabre world of Webster in the stunning setting of St Giles in the Fields, in the heart of the West End. Recently widowed, the young Duchess of Malfi loves and is loved by her steward Antonio. Desirous not to see life pass her by, she marries him despite the orders of her insidious brothers, unleashing a whirlwind of jealousy, madness and death. One of the few female-led classical plays, The Duchess of Malfi  is set in a decaying world where the beauty of the palazzi, rich Renaissance fabrics, and jewellery cannot hide the rampant ugliness and corruption of  the protagonists. Cruelty and beauty mix in a strange way to create a heady cocktail of refinement and morbidity, seduction and horror. True to its standards of excellent acting and insightful textual exploration, ScenaMundi have decided to stage their Duchess of Malfi in a site specific environment which enhances the dark disintegration at the heart of the play.

COMPANY

Jess Murphy (The Duchess), Pip Brignall (Duke Ferdinand, her twin brother), Martin Prest (The Cardinal, their brother), Thomas Winsor (Antonio), Jack Christie (Bosola), Rupert Bates (Delio), Joanna Simmonett (Cariola & Julia)

Cecilia Dorland (Director), Jean-Philippe Martinez (Music and Sound Design), Gisele Venet (Costumes), Chris Perry (Lighting Design)


TWELFTH NIGHT

or what you will

FRENCH PROTESTANT CHURCH, SOHO SQUARE, 2016

Shakespeare’s much-loved comedy Twelfth Night was given a fashion makeover by Scena Mundi in a bold and finely crafted production that took the Elizabethan style to a church catwalk.


Shipwrecked on the shores of Illyria and believing her brother Sebastian to be drowned, Viola decides to don men’s clothes to serve Orsino. Under the name of Cesario, she soon becomes a favourite of the young Duke and finds herself caught in a strange love triangle where ‘all is not what it is’.


Since its first performance on the day of the Epiphany in 1601, the lightness, fun and elegance of Twelfth Night have made it a favourite of theatre goers. The world of Illyria is one of disguise and narcissism where madness lurks under the surface. Viola’s arrival creates chaos and forces all to see beyond appearances to find their true identities.


Scena Mundi’s production focused on the bitter-sweet mood of the comedy to enhance all its diverse aspects. Combining very precise work on text with highly elaborate costumes and clear story-telling, their Twelfth Night was an aesthetic rendition of a multi-facetted play about love, unruliness and self-discovery.

The cast sparkled
— Everything Theatre
Completely astounding classical theatre
— The Theatre Tourist
A strong cast…under the sure directorial hand of Cecilia Dorland
— Sardines Magazine
A delight for the eyes and ears
— Carn's Theatre Passion

COMPANY

Clare Brice (MariaSebastian), Pip Brignall (Duke Orsino), Jack Christie (Sir Toby BelchCurio), Edward Fisher (Feste), Emma Hall (Countess Olivia), Harriett Hare (ViolaCesario), David Keogh (AntonioFabian), Martin Prest (MalvolioPriestOfficer), Thomas Winsor (Sir Andrew Aguecheek Captain)

Cecilia Dorland (Director), Jean-Philippe Martinez (Music & Sound Design), Georgia Green (Costumes), Darren Royston (Movement & Choreography), Penny Rischmiller, Nathalie Gunzle (Lighting Design), Edward Fisher (Set Design)

VOLPONE

OR THE FOX

THE JACK STUDIO THEATRE, 2015

THE ARGUMENT

V olpone, childless, rich, feigns sick, despairs,

O ffers his state to hopes of several heirs,

L ies languishing: his parasite receives

P resents of all, assures, deludes; then weaves

O ther cross plots, which ope themselves, are told.

N ew tricks for safety are sought; they thrive: when bold,

E ach tempts the other again, and all are sold.

Ben Jonson, 1605 Prologue to Volpone

SYNOPSIS

Volpone (the Fox), a rich Venetian, and his servant Mosca (the Fly) pretend that Volpone is dying to encourage greedy fortune hunters to vie for hisfavour in hopes of being named his heir. These birds of prey, Voltore (the Vulture), Corbaccio (the Raven) and Corvino (the Crow), oblivious to their own foibles, duly visit Volpone with rich presents while eagerly hoping for news of his death, offering Volpone and Mosca much cause for laughter.

Things get complicated when Volpone decides to seduce Corvino’s virtuous wife and Mosca invents a means to convince Corbaccio to disinherit his son Bonario in favour of his master. Caught by Bonario as he was about to force himself on Celia, Volpone finds himself taken to court and only the quick wit of Mosca gets him out of danger. Yet the Fox is not wise enough to know where to stop and intends to keep on having fun at the expense of his flatterers. In his hubris, he does not see that he, the consumed deceiver, is in turns being deceived by Mosca the parasite…

Inspiried by Roman satire and the tradition of fables in which human follies are portrayed through animal characters, Ben Jonson’s exuberant satire of human greed is a feast of language and a triumphant ode to the art of acting and the misguided lure of riches. Will your sympathies lie with the deceiver – or will they lie with the parasite? Watch treachery rewarded, before poetic justice engulfs both knaves and dupes.

Fringe Theatre at its best
— Broadway World
The stellar line up… will have you laughing throughout
— Everything Theatre
A lively, inventive and delightful piece of theatre
— The Theatre Tourist
Thought-provoking theatre, radiating energy and style
— Mind the Blog

COMPANY

Steve Hope-Wynne (VOLPONE, a Magnifico); Pip Brignall (MOSCA, his Parasite); Rupert Bates (VOLTORE, an Advocate); Fraser Wilson (CORBACCIO, an old Gentleman); Martin Prest (CORVINO, a Merchant); Edward Fisher (SIR POLITIC WOULD-BE, a Knight); Jack Christie (SIR PEREGRINE, a Gentleman Traveller); Siobhan Gerrard (CELIA, Corvino’s Wife); Joshua Pugh (BONARIO, son to Corbaccio); Ava Amande (LADY WOULD-BE, Sir Politick’s Wife); Anna Buckland (AVOCATORE, a Magistrate); Martin Prest (MERCATORE, a Merchant)

Cecilia Dorland (Director); Jean-Philippe Martinez (Composer); Edward Fisher (Set Design); John Dalton (Scenic Painting); Penny Rischmiller (Costume, Sound Design); Nathalie Gunzle (Lighting Design, Sound Design); Darren Royston (Choreography)


SAD STORIES OF THE DEATH OF KINGS

RICHARD II & EDWARD II

ST. BARTHOLOMEW THE GREAT/VENTNOR EXCHANGE FESTIVAL, 2015

Scena Mundi’s "Sad Stories of the Death of Kings: Richard II & Edward II" enjoyed fantastic press and audience reviews while playing in London’s oldest church, St Bartholomew the Great, in May-July 2015. 

 Similar in theme if not in style, the two plays are so full of echoes that there can be no doubt Shakespeare was inspired by Marlowe’s Edward II. Written within a few months of each other, both dramatise the pursuit of and fall from power of weak monarchs. Presenting them side by side is therefore a choice motivated by the plays themselves.

RICHARD II

The Tragedy of  King  Richard  II  is  one  of  Shakespeare’s  linguistically   and poetically   richest plays. Richard, the “mockery king of snow”, is a man of refined intellect, subtle and educated, who manipulates his entourage with hisuse of language. Ambitious, arrogant and proud, Richard thinks he is secure in his position as God’s chosen king. When challenged by his cousin Bolingbroke over the death of their uncle, Richard banishes him and precipitates his own downfall. The formidable confrontation that follows, in which man-of-words Richard is set upon by man‐of‐action Bolingbroke, leads to Richard’s capitulation and his surrendering of the crown. The genuine suffering which oppresses him after his abdication is that of a man whose sense of purpose has gone. Richard’s sorrow and philosophical questioning leads him to distinguish between the King and the man – the public figure and the privateindividual.

Shakespeare’s Richard is a multi‐facetted character whose final tragedy cannot fail to move audiences.

A steadfastly historical production... which champions the poetry at the piece’s heart
— The Stage
Even the Globe, which I love, pales into insignificance in the face of this magnificent example of a 12th Century religious building... Director Cecilia Dorland uses the space perfectly
— London Theatre 1
Magnificent, awe-inspiring surroundings compliment a fine cast.
— Everything Theatre
Scena Mundi, the resident company at St Bartholomew the Great church, have managed to create a truly stunning, graceful and precise production. This is an absolute must-see... for the genuinely astounding performance from the whole company. This is traditional Shakespeare exactly as it should be done, with no gimmicks or distractions, just sincerity and grace... Cecilia Dorland’s production is quite exquisite
— The Theatre Tourist

COMPANY

Pip Brignall (KING RICHARD THE SECOND), Graham Pountney (JOHN OF GAUNT, Duke of Lancaster, Uncle to the KingBISHOP OF CARLISLE & A GARDENER in the Duke of York’s palace), Edmund Sage-GreenBen HigginsMartin Prest (HENRY, surnamed BOLINGBROKE, Duke of Hereford, Son to John of Gaunt, afterwards King Henry IV), Rupert Bates (EDMUND OF LANGLEY, Duke of York, Uncle to the King & LORD MARSHAL), Eluned Hawkins (DUCHESS OF YORK & DUCHESS OF GLOUCESTER), Edward Fisher (DUKE OF AUMERLE, Son to the Duke of York GREEN, Follower of King Richard), Anna Buckland (ISABELLA, queen to King Richard), Patrick Oldham (THOMAS MOWBRAY, Duke of NorfolkSIR PIERCE OF EXTON EARL OF NORTHUMBERLAND), Nadia Sangari (LADY attending on the Queen)

Cecilia Dorland (Director), Penny Rischmiller (Design & Costumes), Nathalie Gunzlé (Lighting DesignStage Management), Jean-Philippe Martinez (Original Music)

EDWARD II

Marlowe’s Edward II is a violent tragedy in which power, lust and ambition combine. Edward is a weak king whose advancement of his favourite, Piers Gaveston, garners both the hatred of his Queen, Isabelle, and of his barons, led by the ruthless Mortimer. Finally captured and put to the most horrible of deaths, Edward is succeeded by his son, Edward III, whose first action as King is to have the traitor Mortimer put to death.

A dark play in which no character is given redeeming features, Marlowe’sEdward II takes us to the claustrophobic world of a merciless court where private ambition and revenge are more important than political vision. Edward II is a bloody tale of selfish desire and misguided judgement. The King’s lack of political acumen and his self‐indulgence leads to a chaos which only a strong leader will be able to end. Far from gaining a crown, the rebellious barons find death at the hands of the legitimate heir – the divine right of Kings remains unchallenged.

Scena Mundi’s company of actors are exquisite... A powerhouse of a production
— The Theatre Tourist
[An] eye-catching performance... the dynamic is just right
— Everything Theatre
A theatre visit like no other...it was a remarkable use of a church. The whole cast were fantastic.
— London Theatre 1
Scena Mundi are without doubt an asset to British theatre. Artistic Director Cecilia Dorland has created with Edward II an unique experience, fusing the 14th century king together with a new romantic excess and glamour, that locks in all the conspiring of the king’s court impeccably. The cast are a powerhouse, together they work in harmony, with great understanding and acknowledgment of the historic building they are performing within. Edward II will certainly linger in your conscience long after leaving St Bartholomew the Great.
— Frantastic View

company

Edward Fisher (KING EDWARD THE SECOND), Ava Amande (ISABELLA OF FRANCE, Queen to King Edward), Martin Prest (LORD ROGER MORTIMER), Anna Buckland (EDMUND, EARL OF KENT, Brother to the King), Graham Pountney (DUKE OF LANCASTER), Josh Pugh (PRINCE EDWARD, afterwards KING EDWARD IIILORD LEICESTER A POOR MAN), David J. Keogh (BISHOP OF WINCHESTER LORD ARUNDELL), Pip Brignall (LORD PIERS GAVESTON, Favourite to King Edward & Executioner), Damian Regan (LORD SPENCER, Favourite to King Edward BISHOP OF COVENTRY), Patrick Oldham (EARL OF WARWICK AN ABBOT), Nadia Sangari (A MOWER, A MESSENGER and SOLDIER)

Cecilia Dorland & Eluned Hawkins (Director), Penny Rischmiller (Company Stage Management, Design & Costumes), Nathalie Gunzlé (Technical Stage Management & Lighting Design), Darren Royston (Movement & Choreography), Jean-Philippe Martinez (Original Music), Chris Wells (Programme)


MURDER IN THE CATHEDRAL

BY T. S. ELIOT

ST BARTHOLOMEW THE GREAT, 2015

 

T. S. ELIOT'S VIOLENT, VERSE PAGEANT OF FAITH, MURDER AND POETRY

“End will be simple, sudden, God- given...

All things prepare the event. Watch.”

 

St Bartholomew the Great already partly stood in the time of Becket, which makes it a setting of choice for the play. Eliot conceived the text to be performed in a religious building (the Chapter house of Canterbury Cathedral) and Little Spaniel Theatre feel really privileged to be able to stage it in St Barts.  We have tried to make the most of the church’s extraordinary atmosphere and aimed at giving back to Eliot’s medieval pageant all its vigour and strength of vision. This “Murder”, delivered by a young and energetic cast, wants to create a tableau of early Plantagenet England without compromising on the modernity of the play. No setting would have served it better than St Bartholomew.

An excellent production…The whole experience was a delight: the church is exquisite, and the performances were a joy.
— The Financial Times
[A] powerful experience… [The] chorus of women … give this excellent production its heart... The women wheel both vocally and physically to keep the performance fluid and intense... Eliot’s verse [is made] elegant and understandable
— The Church Times

COMPANY

Ava AmandeCristina BascheClare BriceAnna BucklandEluned HawkinsClaire-Monique Martin (Women of Canterbury); Tyrone Coogan (First Priest); Edward Fisher (Second Priest); Damian Regan (Third Priest); Jack Cooper Stimpson (Messenger) ; Martin Aukland (Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury); Tom Wharnsby (First Tempter / First Knight); Pip Brignall (Second Tempter / Third Knight); Daniel Osgerby (Third Tempter / Fourth Knight); Edmund Sage-Green (Fourth Tempter/ Second Knight)


EVERYMAN

A MEDIEVAL MORALITY PLAY

ST BARTHOLOMEW THE GREAT, 2014

An intelligent and fresh adaptation of a challenging 15th century allegorical text… delivered with effortless clarity by a classy, youthful ensemble
— The Stage

COMPANY

Damian Regan (Jester), Eluned Hawkins (God), Tom Wharnsby (Death), Edmund Sage-Green (Everyman), Edward Fisher (Fellowship), Claire-Monique Martin (Kindred, Beauty, The Angel)Jack Cooper Stimpson (Cousin, Strength), Ava Amande (Goods), Pip Brignall (Good Deeds), Anna Buckland (Knowledge), Tyrone Coogan (Confession, Doctor of Divinity), Clare Brice (Five Wits), Damian Regan (Discretion)

Cecilia Dorland (Director); Eluned Hawkins (Assistant Director); Penny Rischmiller (CSM & Costumes); Nathalie Gunzle (Stage ManagementDarren Royston (Movement); Jean-Philippe Martinez (Musical arrangement); Damian Regan (Singing & Musical Direction); Russ Gomm for Aurora Pictures (Photography, Video and Trailer)


LOVE'S METAMORPHOSIS

BY JOHN LYLY

PENTAMETER'S THEATRE, 2013

First played in London by the Children of Paul’s in the last years of the XVIth century. Revived on the 10th of September, 2013 at the Pentameters Theatre, Hampstead, London. 

COMPANY

Ava Amande (Nisa), Sibylla Meienberg (Celia), Judith Georgi (Niobe), Tom Wharnsby (Ramis, in love with Nisa), Edmund Sage-Green (Montanus, in love with Celia), Pip Brignall (Silvestris, in love with Niobe), Holly Morgan (Ceres, Goddess of the harvest), Gavin Duff (Erisichthon, a farmer), Laura Danielle Sharp (Protea, daughter of Erisichthon), Mathew Lewis-Carter (Petulius, in love with Protea), Edward Fisher / Mathew Lewis-Carter (Chorus), Laura Danielle Sharp (Fidelia, an arborified nymph), Edward Fisher (A merchant), Dominic Morgan (Cupid, God of love)

Cecilia Dorland (Director); Luise Wiener (Stage Manager); Carolyn Wheeler (Company Movement); Darren Royston (Period Movement); John Dalton (Scenery); Penny Rischmiller and Ollie Edwards (Lighting); Gisèle Venet (Literary Adviser & Costumes); Jean-Philippe Martinez (Music); Léonie Scott-Matthews (Producer)