Kill Shakespeare at the Edmonton Fringe Festival

Kill Shakespeare. Image by Tynan Boyd

Kill Shakespeare. Image by Tynan Boyd

Kill Shakespeare, based on the graphic novel by Conor McCreery & Anthony Del Col
August 19, 20, 22, 23, 25, 26

An interview with Andrew Ritchie.

Describe your show in one sentence.

A comic book re-envisioning of the Bard’s greatest characters of all time in which everyone does battle to either save or kill: William Shakespeare.

Okay, now that we’re intrigued… what’s the longer description of your show?

Hamlet flees Denmark and lands in a mysterious land where Richard III reveals that Hamlet is the Shadow King and has a destiny far greater than he ever imagined. Kill Shakespeare follows Shakespeare’s greatest heroes (Hamlet, Othello, Juliet, and Falstaff) as they quest to find the reclusive wizard: William Shakespeare. Hamlet must work fast as revenge driven villains (Lady Macbeth, Iago and Richard III) have other plans to kill William Shakespeare and take his power. The live show is based off the first two books of the renowned graphic novel series Kill Shakespeare by Anthony Del Col & Conor McCreery. The stage production brings together a live radio play with foley sound effects with original music and projected slides of the Kill Shakespeare comic book.

Shakespeare can sometimes be intimidating. How does Kill Shakespeare open up Shakespeare’s work in a way that’s accessible?

Kill Shakespeare takes the most iconic elements of Shakespeare: famous lines, well-known characters and puts them in an original and alternative storyline. What would happen if Lady Macbeth joined Richard III in a quest for power? What happens when Hamlet and Juliet both survive their stories and meet? The show is written in contemporary language and is a fast paced family friendly adventure complete with romance, comedy and epic battles. This show is made for everyone, especially fans of comic books and Shakespeare!

Kill Shakespeare gives the audience ways to interact with the play, similar to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Why did you want to add this element to the show? What does it add for audiences?

I believe theatre is most exciting when it embraces the live moment and highlights the relationship between the performer and the audience. Theatre is live and in real time. What sets Kill Shakespeare apart is that with projected slides it is naturally cinematic. I wanted to juxtapose this by making the audience an integral part of the experience. The play is set in heightened fantastical world with exaggerated characters, magic and high stakes of life and death. I want the fringe production to feel like a sporting event where you can boo and cheer your favourite characters and even throw things at the stage (just like audiences did in Elizabethan time). And while we won’t be throwing tomatoes (as you could have way back when) you will receive a goody bag complete with ready to toss items and instructions of when and how to interact.

Anything else you want audiences to know about the show?

MUSIC. Erik Mortimer has composed original music for the production from scratch. Erik is a prolific musician working across the city and has scored the entire play, which lifts the production to a more epic level with his stunning musical accompaniment.  I think audiences will be surprised by the intersection of all the productions elements: comic book slides, voice acting, foley, music, audience interaction, and staging!

The 36th Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival is August 17 – 27. Get your tickets at starting August 9.

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