Sunday, July 14, 2013

HYPERBOLE:bard - Interview with Matthew Hill

HYPERBOLE:bard's Assistant Director Matthew Hill is an Ensemble member and long-time collaborator of Rogue Artists EnsembleHe's been busy at Annenberg Community Beach House this week, but took a minute to discuss his experience with his first HYPERBOLE show with the group:

Cube-masked Hamlet (at Carlson Park)
Rogue Artists Ensemble: How did you get involved in creating HYPERBOLE: bard?  Have you worked on other Rogue HYPERBOLE shows before?

Matthew Hill: Well, I'm an Ensemble Member with the Rogues and before that I was an associate artist. So I've definitely worked on a few Rogue shows. But this is my first HYPERBOLE, which is pretty exciting. When I heard that we were developing a HYPERBOLE built around Shakespeare, I knew I had to find a way to be involved. Sean and I spoke and we agreed that I could best serve the production as the assistant director.

RAE: What was the process like in developing the piece?  How did it challenge (or not challenge) you as a director and artist?

MH: I first came in with the development team. It was 11 of us, I think, in the Rogue space just jamming for a few weeks on what Shakespeare meant to us, what we liked, didn't like, what commonalities we saw, why we think Shakespeare is still relevant, what fun could be had with his work--all that stuff. We played with masks, puppets, built mockups, and just generally workshopped everything that came to mind. It was a really wonderful and artistically free time.

And then of course it came time to move on and start developing the actual performance. I think this was the most challenging part because you have to start to cut and shape and reign in. It can be heartbreaking to let things go. Or in the case of one pieces (that made it into the show actually), I feel like we have been constantly struggling to recreate the magic from the first time it was explored in the workshop. However, this part was equal parts exciting. There was a new energy and fresh perspective that came with the new faces joining the process. The piece is better for having gone through this tempering. And it's still getting better every day!
Cube-masked Hamlet at Annenberg Community Beach House

RAE: What is your favorite story or character in the show and why?

MH: I feel like there is a lot to love, but my favorite is probably the cube-masked Hamlet. It is just so delightful poignant and simple.

RAE: What is it like working at the Annenberg Beach House?

MH: Rather fantastic. There is nothing quite like the ocean breeze lightly blowing into the living room of the guest house. And the facade that we perform on is really beautiful. It really is just a beautiful place to be. And I'm grateful that we have been able to create there.

RAE: Why do you think audiences should come see the show?

A friend of mine once said, "If you can't laugh at it, it isn't worth doing." And Shakespeare once wrote that "Jesters do oft prove prophets." So if we follow the logic, things that are humourous are worth experiencing. And there is much truth spoken in jest. Therefore, they should come and laugh! And feel and learn and experience some simple but delightful truths. Plus it has ukuleles. How cool is that?! 

RAE: Any funny/interesting/terrifying/inspiring stories about the rehearsals/performances/process that you want to share?

MH: That is a tough one, strangely. My experience has been thoroughly enjoyable and I just remembering laughing a lot throughout. There was a wall squat competition during one rehearsal break. And I did get to climb a treat to MacGyver our banners up during a preview performance in a park. And then there was the time when we discovered that we had unintentionally turned a piece into King Lear. It has just been a great wacky ride.

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