Tag Archives: Cassiah Joski Jethi

3Bugs Fringe Theatre presents: The Trojan Women @ The Guild of Students

the trojan women

When it was announced that 3Bugs would be taking an adaptation of Euripides’tragedy The Trojan Women to represent them at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year, it was clear that the society is again pushing the boundaries of student theatre. An ambitious project to undertake as a whole, let alone to condense into a forty-five minute adaptation.  

The script, adapted by Director Georgina Thomas, is one to be admired as a work unto itself. The tragedy has been cleverly condensed to offer the audience a grounded overview of Euripides’ original text. Making the most of its limited timeslot, the adaptation, whilst pacey, avoids feeling rushed and still allows the audience to emphasize with its highly developed characters.

For me, this is a production that showcases the strength of its actors. The engaging opening monologue from Poseidon, played by Ben Firth, immediately set the tone as one of unease and foreboding, which picked up in intensity as the hardships faced by the women were revealed. The performances were strong throughout, however particular mention must go to first year student Lizzie Roberts, who gave a fantastic performance as the mentally unhinged Cassandra. Her exchange with the slimy Talthybius, played brilliantly by Jack Alexander, was especially well-executed.

The Chorus (Ella Darbyshire and Lucy Cheetham) are also noteworthy for praise. They bounced off each other with ease and carried the plotline between the speeches of the main characters. The wordy nature of the Greek text was balanced by some clever directorial choices, the addition of song; performed beautifully, broke up the dialogue and the blocking was well thought-out achieving maximum impact in the more emotional moments.  The set was minimal but effective, giving the actors free reign of the space, which they utilized brilliantly. They balanced the stage and created some beautiful stage images, further establishing the relationships between the characters.

Though the 1950s costume was visually striking, I struggled to see any further link to the era, and found it superfluous to the onstage action. The choice of clothing made it hard to ascertain the different social statuses of the characters, the chorus supposedly servants yet dressed in the same fashion as the ladies of the court. The actors, however, did well to combat this with their character relationships and objectives clearly defined; the stony Hecuba (Cassiah Joski-Jethi) was a stark contrast to the seductive Helen (Lauren Dickenson).

The adaptation offers a well-informed snapshot into the tragic lives of the women of Troy, and packs a hefty emotional punch. Andromache’s (Emily Anderson) moving “you may think me a feeble woman… but I am stronger than you think” stayed with me, and the production certainly makes you question the validity of the statement. The power struggle between the women and their male oppressors is evident and comes to a shocking climax in the suicide of Hecuba.  Left ambiguous, the audience questions if the act was a desperate fit of despair, or a more calculated choice to regain control.

A thought-provoking production, The Trojan Women offers a complex plotline, skillfully handled by its actors and will be performed 11th-16th August 11:00, and 18th-23rd August 17:00, at theSpace on the Mile (Space 1). Staying true to the classic text whilst brining its own original take on the characters and their relationships, 3Bugs is once again presenting a play set to challenge as well as entertain.  

 by Nicole Rixon

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The Bridge @ The Guild of Students

the bridge

Making a film can’t be easy. Making a film really can’t be easy when you’re a student, so Cassiah Joski-Jethi’s The Bridge is a triumph for just existing. Written and directed by Joski-Jethi, co-directed and produced by Nicole Rixon and Elisha Owen respectively, and featuring a cast of almost exclusively students, The Bridge follows Lynn (Stephanie Rendall), an eighteen year-old woman whose dreams of being a dancer are interrupted by family tragedy, incompetent adults and an inescapable neighbourhood.

The most striking thing about the film was its stunning shots. Selly Oak and Edgbaston are substitutes for London, and while the landmarks are recognisable for any University of Birmingham student, the shots set up by Joski-Jethi are beautiful. Lynn’s isolation is a key part of this film, and Joski-Jethi utilises space, depth and blurring to add to this effect. The canal-side scenes are perhaps the most visually-arresting, and should make anyone who lives in Birmingham reconsider the city’s beauty. Nick Charlesworth’s original score is equally as beautiful, creating a sense of tranquillity in the troublesome world of the film.

The film is host to some good performances, and an excellent balance of the humorous and serious. The Officer (Jack Robertson) and Jane (Anna Roberts) offer some brilliant and much needed comedic relief throughout the film, while Lynn’s relationships with other characters explore connections more seriously, focusing on obligation and trust. The interactions between Lynn and Bobby (Ethan Owen), her younger brother, are particularly enjoyable to watch: the script wonderfully captures the sibling dynamic.

In her pre-screening speech, Joski-Jethi stated that she felt the film was a time capsule containing the houses her cast have lived in, buildings that no longer exist and streets that we walk down daily. This astute way of identifying the film can encompass the film as a whole: undoubtedly, when some of the cast and crew have made their names in the film or theatre industry – as the hard work and performances indicate – this film will contain their early work; perhaps one day it will gain a cult status.

Not only were the audience given an exclusive viewing of the film, we were lucky enough to watch the ‘Making of’. In a film where most of the characters are isolated, or seem to lack true friendships, it was lovely to see the cast and crew of The Bridge working together harmoniously and having fun.

Post-screening entertainment also included a performance from the recently formed a capella group the J Walkers. Their original arrangements of popular songs including Amy Winehouse’s ‘Back to Black’ and Ray Charles’s ‘Hit the Road, Jack’ were incredibly impressive and enjoyable to watch.

The evening was concluded with a sketch show set from comedy duo Jacob Lovick and Tyler Harding. The pair’s comedic timing was on point and their comradery palpable. The duo’s set was well-rehearsed, and incorporated the slight technical glitches well. Student comedy can often be quite self-referential, but Lovick and Harding’s set moved outside the university sphere, making it all the more entertaining.

What The Bridge premiere showed was an extraordinary amount of talent in the university’s community. This talent is varied, but when used effectively in a team, projects one might have thought impossible come into existence. If this is just the starting point for this group of creative individuals, I am excited to see where they go next. 

By Jenna Clake
@jennaclake

Watch This Presents: Triumphant @ Guild of Students

triumphant

Cast:
Ryan Brown, Bruce Lancaster-Rous, Sarah Lonergan, Sara Page

 Crew:
Director, choreographer and writer – Cassiah Joski-Jethi. Producer: Florence Schechter

Triumphant, an original piece of physical theatre, written, directed and choreographed by Cassiah Joski-Jethi is nothing short of a success: it is possibly one of the most exciting and original productions I have seen in my three years at the University.

The four characters in the piece were often child-like, consumed by stifling confusion and feelings of hopelessness, which were communicated through beautifully choreographed movements and wonderfully executed dance routines.

However, these feelings weren’t for the characters alone to experience. The fourth wall was broken repeatedly throughout the performance, with audience members being handed books and being spoken to by the cast; it was unnerving at times, adopting some of the characteristics of in-yer-face theatre to incite self-reflection; this was most evident when the dance studio’s mirrors were revealed and the audience uncomfortably looked at themselves and one another. The dance studio was the perfect space for the performance: there was a simultaneous intimacy and claustrophobic sense created.

Memory also played a significant part in the piece. The characters desperately searched for something, voraciously read books for enlightenment, and yet still couldn’t necessarily ever put their fingers on what they were actually looking for. The dimly lit space and the use of blindfolds highlighted the characters’ lack of direction and enlightenment about their situation. They seemed to be denying themselves a crucial piece of information: one sequence followed the characters’ dispute over how an event had occurred, while another followed the characters’ fear of having to ‘go back’ to something that they had obviously chosen to forget.

The best way to interpret the piece, I felt, was to read it as a piece of post-modern art. There were several elements which fitted this label: by giving out the books so willingly, the characters seemed to reject art; they constantly sought to define things exactly by reading dictionary definitions, and their lack of appreciation for the art they owned is a typical symptom of their waning ability to affect. Moreover, one character’s cynicism towards God, and the representation of life as a repetitive cycle of a few experiences culminating in death was a clear indication of nihilism. However, as with some of my favourite theatre pieces, it was not entirely fatalistic. Towards the end of the production, the characters recollected their books, thus indicating a new appreciation of emotion, and acknowledged that they lived and died ‘triumphant’.

To look for a clear narrative in a piece like this is to miss the point completely. What Joski-Jethi’s production aims for is self-reflection. To find it life-affirming or fatalistic is an individual’s interpretation.

Whether you understand it or not, the choreography is beautiful and wonderfully executed by the cast. Sara Page is in particular a fantastic dancer, but it must be mentioned that some of the cast members have not been trained in dance, and yet moved incredibly well. Joski-Jethi has also chosen a wonderful selection of music which is melancholic, uplifting and unnerving, and perfectly matches the characters’ journeys.

It is a credit to Joski-Jethi that she has been able to cast, devise and rehearse this entire production in such a short amount of time; the fact that the end result is something exciting and entirely unique is quite frankly astonishing.

by Jenna Clake
@jennaclake