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Shakespeare and Sparklers

by Hugh Upsher / 16.09.2013

Francesco Nassimbeni (AKA Frankie) started a multi-discipline experimental theatre group called Playgroup last year. He is currently developing his latest creation titled POETRY FOR DRAGONS. A Shakespeare inspired attention deficit remix that involves elements of music, dance, spoken word and… sparklers. He answered some questions for me during rehearsals.

Dream Castles

MAHALA: What drew you to Theatre?

Francesco Nassimbeni: An early propensity toward showing off. Then, as a young adult, discovering that you could do a degree in showing off at Uni. Bonus! I got to roll around on the floor for four years, hugging my knees to my chest, shouting “I’m an acorn!”

Would you describe Playgroup as underground theatre?

Yes, It’s no fun on the surface.

If you had a sizeable budget what would you do differently?

I’d pay us all a boss salary, and then we would hire a barn on the seashore to devise the new works. The government would throw pots of money at us because of our bravery and good hair.

Do you find it easy to bring people into a project like this when the primary form of payment is creative freedom and exposure?

Weirdly, yes. I worried that it wouldn’t be, but I’ve found the response amazing. Playgroup is sort of a collective ‘me-time’ where we play with music and glow sticks. I suppose it’s about connecting with people who have shared values in a way. The only down side is that I boss everyone around.

Is the ‘pay attention to my life’ complex unique to drama students, do they just know how to express it clearer?

No, I think it is endemic to many artists, and to people in general. Drama just teaches you to holler your vibe at anyone passing, where a degree in art will probably lead you to scribbling your thoughts on your sneaker while hiding from people at a party.

It’s a pity we have to pay for all this nowadays. Before we all could have sat round a fire and the Playgroup would do so some weird story about Mammoths and Earthquakes (with sound effects).

What do Shakespeare and Sparklers have in common?

God. So much. Fireworks were used in Elizabethan times during all kinds of rad ceremonies and parties. You could also make thunder go bang with a firework, and then everybody would go ‘ooh’.

Is the name of the show milking the dragon hype of Game of Thrones?

Yes. Do you think it’s working?

Is Playgroup a way for you to chase the dragon of childish bliss?

Yes. What else? I just want to play all day and not have to go to bed.

Were you dragon on some mad chronic when you wrote Poetry for Dragons?

Yes. I took dictation from William Shakespeare. He’s hot, if anyone’s interested.

What kind of people do you want to come see poetry for Dragons?

Anyone with imagination. Also, hipsters with money.

Do you want Playgroup to go on forever and ever?

Yes. But it’s similar to Fantasia. It’s always in danger of fading.

Playgroup: Poetry For Dragons is showing at the T.A.A.C // corner Wesley and Milton, Observatory.

Saturday the 21st to Thursday the 26th SEPT @19H15

Tickets // R40

to book: // 021 447 3683

or email us // weareplaygroup@gmail.com

or book online: www.theatrearts.co.za

Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/400688113390508/


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