The Ophelia Project
A Film Project funded by the Arts Council between
Bare Cheek, Wexford Arts Centre & Loreto Secondary School
When we were rehearsing ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ (YPCE Project Award Strand 3, 2020/21) with TY students, we looked at other Shakespeare works and posed the question; “If "Hamlet" was called ‘Ophelia’ and not ‘Hamlet’ what would it be about/like?” We explored many really interesting scenarios, mostly rooted in contemporary culture and vowed to return to the premise in the future. This was the beginning of ‘The Ophelia Project’.
Initially we will hold a series of workshops with the TY participants, facilitated by Marnie McCleane-Fay, who has worked with us on many previous devising productions. These sessions are ultimately content generators, where the ideas, experiences and beliefs of the participants are improvised theatrically and filmically. We will then film the resultant script. We will also cast and rehearse a condensed (c.40minutes) female stage version of ‘Hamlet’, for production in Wexford Arts Centre. This production will be filmed over 2 to 3 days with an audience of extras.
Focusing on parallels between Ophelia, the contestants of reality television such as ‘Love Island’ and the young girls themselves. Looking at how Ophelia had never been in love before and how she had an idea of what it was meant to be, the effects that ‘ghosting’ had on her and how this translates to the modern world. Also looking at what makes someone an individual and how that process has changed. In the past, friend groups were relatively small. Now our friend group is hundreds if not thousands of people - the online Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok community. Exploring how we watch scenarios play out with other people before we get to experience them ourselves, does this influence our expectations in love and life in general? Does the use of social media lead to the loss of individuality as we see how if we conform to a certain standard, life is ‘easier’? The project aims to draw parallels between Ophelia's treatment by the men in her life and the young participant's lived experiences.
Workshopping and rehearsing from January to June, with filming in July 2023 and a premiere in Wexford Arts Centre and then to release on YouTube.