Max Shanager (Rome):
I didn’t want to direct this play. A strange start to a director’s note but let me explain…
My plan was to produce this show – to help with the marketing and coordinating and not get involved in the day-to-day rehearsal process. But then when the opportunity arose due to unforeseen circumstances, the directing role for Rome reopened and I had an inkling to get involved. Rome may seem sterile from an outsider’s point of view, but what interested me the most was the political dynamics that would arise from the death of a figure as powerful as Julius Caesar. The student writers who helped flesh out the Rome side of the script have done an amazing job: giving a stronger voice to Octavia, Julius Caesar’s niece, and creating a fun chemistry between Agrippa and Maecenas, two of the Roman generals. This inkling has led me to work with an amazing team who have put an immeasurable effort into this project, and I am extremely excited to see the final result. I am delighted I made the jump over to the role of director, as discovering Rome has been such a treat which I hope we can share with the audience.
Harry Threapleton (Egypt):
They say Rome wasn’t built in a day. Well, neither was Egypt.
Nothing about this project was ordinary. Whether it was the immersion of the audience, the simultaneous running and timing of two halves of the script, entire rooms being assembled and disassembled in the Fonteyn Ballroom, or even the question of how to make so many scenes of dialogue engaging and fun, this was an endeavour like no other and a huge leap for someone like me who’d only ever acted in DST before. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that often the greatest creative challenges provide the greatest experiences, and this was certainly an unforgettable experience. What drew me to this production more than anything was Walkabout’s desire to push the envelope of what’s possible with student theatre. I hope you find they’ve set a new bar for what can be achieved with the force of just a few creative minds and dedicated talents.
Egypt is very tonally different to Rome – very much the emotive romantic tragedy to Rome’s energetic political thriller. As such our mission was to make subtler personal conflicts and emotional battles as engaging and exciting as the wars and backstabbing occurring on the other side of the world (or across the central wall of the ballroom!). I’m truly lucky to have been able to tackle this with a crew that are as passionate as they are ambitious, supportive as they are tireless. Every individual backstage has given 150% to their roles, working as a unit to construct this grand experience. Thank yous must go to Steph, Theo, Henry, Carrie, Leo, Emily, Tully, Tabby, Kate, Hetty and Teagan for putting their hearts and souls into this production as well as welcoming me with open arms as I joined in September. Another huge thank you of course goes to my co-director Max, who’s supported me and bounced ideas with me throughout the entire process. Then there is the wonderful cast, who’ve faced every challenge head-on with grace and dedication, never ceasing to ask inquisitive questions or make enlightening suggestions, and also never ceasing to make me laugh on even the longest of days.
I cannot wait to watch this with you and to celebrate the culmination of months of talent from so many people!