With a unique take on Charles Dickens classic novel Great Expectations coming to the Wyvern Theatre soon, I sat down with TS Theatre’s guiding light Peter Hynds to ask that perennial question…What the Dickens? Or more importantly why? In the past TS have worked with both contemporary and traditional productions, from Evergreen to Midsummer Nights Dream and from Four Sunsets to A Clockwork Orange, so I was interested to know what made him chose a traditional piece such as Great Expectations?
“As TS Theatre we started off with a couple of our own shows and we always went extreme and we always chose shows which were never going to be put on in Swindon…ever! Over the last few years we have concentrated on smaller pieces, pieces that I have written or that members of the company have written such as Eugenia, I’m always encouraging that, and we just hadn’t done a big show at The Wyvern for a while. I just thought that we needed to do that again.”
But for a company all about breaking new ground and working with less well know and original material, Dickens does seem to be a less than obvious place to find TS working in.
“Well, many, many shows were mooted and discarded or only made it to a maybe, but Great Expectations came along because Laura, who plays Miss Haversham, had constantly been asking me to look at it and I was always refusing, saying Dickens is not something that TS will ever do, not in a million years. But then I read this adaptation and thought it was quite dark, quite twisted. This version of the play, just seems to concentrate on a lot of stuff very quickly and cut out much of the peripheral parts of the plot and I felt that we could have a lot of fun with it.”
And of course the thing with Dickens is he revels in the dark and flawed nature of humanity, his divisions between good and bad are often very blurred and less than obvious.
“Yes, none of these characters are very nice and I though we could run with that and really have a lot of fun and maybe put our own twist on the play, not have to be so precious and put on a version which hasn’t been seen in Swindon before.
The other unique quality of the production is its circus-noir theme, an interesting take on the intricate weave of control and influence which runs through the play.
“I just though of the theme that life is but a circus, it all just seems that in the story, everything is thrown at Pip by all these other characters and he has to deal with it, Jaggers especially, so we turned that character into a ring master and she, she in this version, maybe does run the whole story. I just thought that the whole thing is quite farcical so why not the circus?”
This original take on the Dickens classic will be at the Wyvern Theatre on 11th September, tickets and more information HERE