"We created a god, a monster, the Immortal Shakespeare"
Wild Bill: Sonnet of a Bardsterd is humanity's long awaited meeting with the William Shakespeare that history has kept hidden from our eyes - and our bookshelves.
Drunkard, imposter, literary terrorist and now suffering from dissociative identity disorder; Wild Bill is doing his best to maintain his grandeur as the hordes of characters he created tear his sanity apart...
Returning to mankind to shoot down any question of authorship Wild Bill tackles the conspiracies and poppycock one by one, and by merging some of his most famous characters with modern day film counterparts, (Richard III vs Gollum, Lady Macbeth vs Holly Golightly, Puck vs Morpheus), we realise that years of worship has created a god, a monster, the Immortal Shakespeare - Wild Bill.
WILD BILL Sonnet of a Bardsterd By Michael Longhi Directed by Alex Wheeler
theSpace @ Surgeons Hall (Theatre 3), Nicolson St, EH8 9DW
7, 8, 10 - 15 August 2015- 12.35pm 17 - 22 August 2015 - 2.05pm 24 - 29 August 2015 - 3.05pm
What inspired this production: did you begin with an idea or a
script or an object?
Michael Longhi: I guess this production has been born out of a few things.
The frustration of not working when you believe you have something to share.
The growing consensus that Shakespeare didn't write the work we call his - which i believe is linked to a modern fascination for conspiracy.
The whole piece began with a three minute monologue I wrote called Richard III vs Gollum and its taken over a year to figure out a way to extend that to a 45 minute play which was sparked by seeing a picture of Tom Hardy as Bronson and thinking' "what if we had always known that image as Shakespeare?".
Where does your piece at the fringe fit with your usual work?
This is the first time I have attempted to write anything but in terms of work as an actor I believe my work has always been a physical, raw, intense yet always playing with ideas of convention and imagination.
Working with the company Action To The Word that has brought shows like Clockwork Orange and Dracula to the Fringe has definitely inspired my work.
What can the audience expect to see and feel - or even think - of your production?
I hope they will leave 'drained and entertained'. There is a lot of questions being asked in the play, questions of what makes an artist, questions of Shakespeare's authorship, of morality and belief. Overall if they leave provoked then I would consider it a success.
The Dramaturgy Questions
What particular traditions and influences would you acknowledge on your work - have any particular artists, or genres inspired you and do you see yourself within their tradition?
One of the plays main statements is that new work, new art is always influenced by the world around us, by other artists but this doesn't mean it isn't new art so there are a host of genres and artists that have inspired me from Shakespeare to This Is England, It's A Wonderful Life to practitioners of Shakespeare such as Mark Ryland and Tim Crouch.
I would hope I am both a part of tradition and part of something
Do you have a particular process of making that you could describe - where it begins, how you develop it, and whether there is any collaboration in the process?
This is the first thing I've ever written so in terms of process I can only look to this work. It has often felt like solving a murder, surrounded by clues and theory and then letting Wild Bill's voice answer those questions in his own unique way. For if 'the Bard' did return I'm sure he would have a lot to say and his own way of saying it.
Michael Longhi This is Michael's first venture into writing and also his first Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He trained at East 15 Acting School and has worked in television, film and theatre most recently in the award winning film Night Bus and the highly acclaimed theatre production of A Clockwork Orange by Action To The Word.
Alex Wheeler Alex trained at East 15 Acting School. Since graduating Alex has built a varied career in directing, design, casting and teaching. In casting he has worked on the feature films Four Lions and Submarine as well as hundreds of commercials. In design he has art directed music videos for Band of Skulls, Feeder and The Moons featuring Paul Weller.