Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A Bizarre Love Triangle

Hannah Vassallo and Dominic Marsh in Kneehigh's Tristan & Yseult.
Want to Know Even More?

If you just can’t get enough of this legendary love story—here are some further reading and viewing options:
Kneehigh’s own take on itself. Visit the company website.

"If this show doesn't make you fall in love with theatre, there's no potion on Earth that can help you." The Guardian (UK)
Chances are you’ve heard music from Richard Wagner’s opera Tristan and Isolde. Even just the first 12 minutes might ring a bell or two, with its sad, sweeping melody that mixes with the longing of the strings and the foreboding wind section.

If you’re attending a performance of Kneehigh’s adaptation of Tristan & Yseult expecting to see a dusty old opera, you might go home disappointed. The production you will see is the literal definition of “spectacular.”

First, you’ll need to forget what you know about the actual story of Tristan and Yseult. Wait. You don’t know about Tristan and Yseult? Well, pull up a chair.

Mike Shepherd, Hannah Vassallo, Kirsty Woodward and Dominic Marsh.
There are several versions of the Tristan and Yseult legend to choose from; however, the story always starts with an uncle, a nephew and a pretty girl. After defeating an Irish knight, Tristan goes to Ireland to bring back the fair Yseult for his uncle, King Mark, to marry. Along the way, Tristan and Yseult ingest a love potion which causes the pair to fall madly in love, thus making things a tad bit … well … awkward.

In Other Words: Reviewers Love Kneehigh

New York Times
“Tristan & Yseult” is equal parts exaggerated whimsy and overwhelming rue. It presents romantic passion as a force that makes lovers levitate (and I mean literally) and then sends them crashing to the earth.

New York Daily News
The British Kneehigh Theatre company puts its vivid and inventive stamp on a legendary story of star-crossed love.
If this story sounds familiar, it might be because Tristan and Yseult is a precursor to the renowned tale of the Knights of Round Table. Remember The Lady of the Lake with Lancelot and Guinevere? This is a love triangle that is just as juicy as the Arthurian tales of old.

Setting this adaptation of Tristan and Yseult's bizarre love triangle apart from all other incarnations of the story is Kneehigh itself. You'll see for yourself in their performances at SCR. Kneehigh describes themselves as having “built a reputation for creating vigorous and popular theatre for audiences throughout the UK and beyond..” And with their critically acclaimed production of Tristan & Yseult (originally created in 2004), Kneehigh launched itself onto the international stage.

In their words: “This is the original tale of forbidden desires, broken hearts and the agony of choosing one human being over another. Seen through the eyes of the 'Unloved', Tristan & Yseult blends comedy, live music, grand passion and tender truths, in an irresistible night of love.”

The New York Daily News had high praise for this production:
"The visually and emotionally intoxicating “Tristan & Yseult” takes you on a journey, which, as love itself often does, goes from happy hijinks to hapless heartache."
This highly inventive, electrically charged account of love gone wrong has toured internationally, making American stops at major theatres including Berkeley Repertory, the Guthrie Theatre and St. Ann’s Warehouse in New York. Blending acrobatics, live music and unconventional story-telling, Kneehigh’s production is an exhilarating take on a vintage yarn. So, come in, sit down and join us in the Club of the Un-Loved. We guarantee you’ll never look at love (requited or otherwise) the same way again.

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