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The Ruffled Umbrella Company


The Ruffled Umbrella Company is an emerging theatre company based in Bath.In the short time that we have been running, we have won several Awards, including an international award for ‘best show’ at a Festival d’Hiver in Paris, with our production of ‘Dinner’. There are two main strands to Ruffled Umbrella; Performance and Outreach. We perform Shakespeare at Corporate Events, we assist with Corporate Training and we have an extensive Education programme – working both in the curriculum and in extra curricular activities. We are also available to work to Commissions. For more information on our Outreach programmes click here.

Key Projects

Hamlet

Claudius, brother of the successful head of the Denmark Family; Hamlet 'The King' Denmark, is overcome with greed. Jealous, he kills his brother - seducing his wife, and taking over control of the family. Obsessed with his new found levels of power, Claudius moves the family into a more vicious level of crime and sordid affairs as he exerts his new found power over the organisation. His nephew and now step-son, Hamlet 'The Prince' Denmark, becomes increasingly disillusioned with the new direction the family is taking. Cursing his mother’s re-marriage, spurred by the ghost of his father and his uncontrollable lust for the beautiful Ophelia, he begins to lose his sanity and all regard for his remaining family ties... Set in a world of organised crime, the production regards the abuse of power and serves as a metaphor for political power being ill-used for personal gain. In today’s society this is extremely relevant, with upcoming elections, the recent expenses scandal and the recession. Hamlet and his insanity becomes a metaphor for the effect on the population, Hamlet does not trust his leaders. Do we trust ours?

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde: The Experiment

An Overview The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde literally showed the nature of dual-personality, by being a double show itself. The entire show was framed as an experiment. We played as a straight tragedy, and then as a comedy. Same Text. Same Cast. Different Interpretations About The Adaptation Dr. Harry Jekyll, a well established scientist, is trying to make the ultimate breakthrough in his field. He believes that science must move towards the transcendental or mystic in order for us to solve some of life's problems. This breakthrough will be the crowning moment of his career. However, his ideas are rejected by the public, and he is given no funding to continue his work without solid facts. He begins to worry that if his new project fails, his fiancée Kate will no longer want to marry him, and his scientific reputation will be tainted forever. It is for these reasons, that he throws caution to the wind, and begins to experiment on himself. Dr. Jekyll is thrown into a double life by the use of his newly discovered elixir. He is able to be an upstanding member of society, and yet by drinking his concoction he is able to transform into the lustful, monstrous figure that is Mr. Hyde. His friends and fiancée see less and less of him as his duality of life takes control. Mr. Hyde is seen about town attacking young girls, whom Dr. Jekyll befriends and takes care of. His two lives begin to contend, and Dr. Jekyll looses the ability to decide when he changes. This arouses suspicion amongst those who are closest to Dr. Jekyll, in particular his friend and lawyer Mr. Utterson. One murder happens at the hands of Mr. Hyde, and more are soon to follow, but who will take blame? Is Dr. Jekyll responsible for Mr. Hyde or is he innocent? This adaptation explores the nature of Dr. Jekyll's dual-personality, and shows how it affects those closest to him. This is an all new script adapted from the original novel. It is a fast paced, high energy adaptation that puts the audience on the edge of their seats. Directors’ Vision The tragedy explores if Mr. Hyde is to blame for being evil. He was created from the lusts and desires of Dr. Jekyll, does he have any choice in how to act? Who is really guilty; Jekyll, or Hyde? Man will always have desires beneath him; it is whether or not that he chooses to act on these desires that will make him good or evil. The comedy is designed to be a perfect complement to the tragedy. It enables us to look at the story from a totally different point of view, where heroes become villains, and foes become friends. The performance style is extremely physical, based around commedia dell' arte. The scenes are taken to extremities causing them to take on a surreal nature.

Dinner

An Overview An artist, a scientist and a sexpot are coming to dinner. Paige, hostess extraordinaire, and her husband Lars are having a dinner to celebrate the publication of Lars’ new philosophical bestseller. The first course is Primordial soup, and with the arrival of a van driver who has just crashed into a ditch unexpected additions to the evening’s entertainment ensue. All this is overshadowed by the silent, sinister waiter, who has been hired off the internet for a cost of £25,000. Frozen Waste is the final course, but who is getting their just desserts? About The Adaptation An artist, a scientist and a sexpot are coming to dinner. Paige, hostess extraordinaire, and her husband Lars are having a dinner to celebrate the publication of Lars’ new philosophical bestseller. Wynne the artist arrives first, but she arrives alone, because her boyfriend had just left her, due to the fact that she hung a portrait of his genitals in her gallery. Next, Hal, a microbiologist who works for the government, and his wife Siân, a TV news babe arrive. The first course is Primordial soup, to remind the guests that they were once all such persistent slime. The arrival of Mike, a van driver who has just crashed into a ditch provides an unexpected addition to the evening’s entertainment. He may be a burglar, or he could be in cake delivery, but the dinner guests just can’t tell. As live Lobsters are served for dinner, we find out that Lars and Paige’s marriage is on the verge of ending. Lars and his old school lover Wynne may be rekindling their past love. Hal and his wife Siân can’t seem to stop arguing even though they are newlyweds. And Mike is just left watching these people of high class show themselves as being sad and lonely. All this is overshadowed by the silent, sinister waiter, who has been hired off the internet for a cost of £25,000. Is he just there to serve the guests, or has Paige hired him for something much more ominous? Frozen Waste is the final course, but who is getting their just desserts? With this adaptation, the script has been reduced. This helps bring out the fast-paced British wit of the script. The piece is like a tennis match, with snappy, one-liners being passed from one character to the next. This makes the show an intense high energy piece that should keep the audience riveted from beginning to end. Director’s Vision One of the main themes in Dinner is that everything is nothing, and nothing is everything. The upper-class hosts live in a lavish house in a posh area. Lars, the house owner, found making money very easy, and has been able to retire early. He has now published his book on philosophy. He and his wife, Paige live well, but are having a terrible marriage. The other guests are also upper-class. They are an artist, a microbiologist, and news reporter. All of them have a high standard of living, but have a terrible personal life. The final guest is a working-class van driver, who has crashed his van into a ditch. As the evening goes on, we see that each character has everything in one sense, and nothing in another. This will be shown in a physical sense through the set, and the characters. The set will give an impression of the house as it should be, but nothing will be exactly as it should. It will reflect the "everything is nothing" theme literally. The characters are all quick-witted and cutting with their remarks. This will enable the action to be high energy and fast paced. The story, and the reality of the characters lives will snowball and unfold, until it hits its final climax. The characters all have a metaphorical mask that they hide behind. Lars has written his philosophy, and he claims that he lives by it. He believes that everyone has the power to achieve success as long as they take what they want. However most of the other characters don't believe that this is possible, and question whether he actually follows his own advice The piece also dwells on death and suicide. This ties in with the theme of everything is nothing. Everyone shows that they have a different way of dealing with death. Should we fear it, should we fight it, or just we just view it as something out of our own control. Each character has their own journey over the evening, and will eventually show their true self, that they have been hiding. Tour The Ruffled Umbrella Company toured Dinner to the Festival d’Hiver, which takes place at the HEC in Jouy en Josas near paris. We faced various international competition. The show was received extremely well, and came away with the award for “Best Show”.

Key Personnel

Carl Martin Fraser
Isabel Snowden
Rob Cottrell
Philip Wall