BLOODY POETRY + THE (UN)STAGED READING SERIES
The Brooklyn Art Library, Brooklyn NY: Photos by Jordan Tiberio
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
Invulnerable Nothings' inaugural production matched Howard Brenton's Bloody Poetry with (un)Staged Readings from Lord Byron’s Cain, P.B. Shelley’s Prometheus Unbound, and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. It first appeared in a sold out residency at The Brooklyn Art Library in August 2016 and went on to tour nationally and internationally throughout 2017.
Bloody Poetry concerns the historical dramas and complex ménage à quatre of Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Shelley, Lord Byron, and Claire Clairmont from the summer of 1816 until Shelley's death in the summer of 1822. Invulnerable Nothings' highly interactive staging of Brenton's play was produced through Casarotto Ramsay and designed for small audiences in intimate, nontraditional theatre spaces from a sketchbook library to a bi-level greenhouse. Bloody Poetry was matched in rep to an experimental reading series featuring selections from Lord Byron's Cain and Shelley's Prometheus Unbound, closet dramas whose production is expressly forbidden by their authors. These (un)staged readings saught to preserve the unique formal qualities of the plays while involving their texts in a theatrically animating process: an 'audience' gathered together to silently perform mental stagings of the playscripts, the works remaining unvoiced but communally accessible through text and original live music. Cain and Prometheus Unbound were also joined by selections from Mary Shelley's seminal novel Frankenstein at its 200th anniversary, alternatively presented with spoken selections performed by the cast and underscored with live music. Bloody Poetry functioned as a fully realized theatrical counterpoint to the (un)Staged Reading Series, exploring the living mythologies of these Romantic writers and their circle.
"a Romantic project of theatrical conjuring"
-The Austin Chronicle, ★ Arts Critic's Recommended Pick
-The Leith Volcano with Volcano Theatre Co. for Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Edinburgh, Scotland (August 2017)
-Walcot Chapel Arts through the generous support of The Bath & North East Somerset Council, Bath, UK (August 2017)
-The Garage International as part of Festival OFF d'Avignon 2017, Avignon, France (July 2017)
-The Sekrit Theater, Austin, Texas (April 2017)
- The Brooklyn Art Library, Brooklyn, New York (August 2016)
The Walcot Chapel, Bath UK: Photos by Anthony Delluva
Bloody Poetry was directed by the ensemble with Matthew Gasda. Lighting was by Joseph Medeiros with Anthony Delluva. The environmental set design was by Jacqueline Brockel and Beau Reichert, with sound design by Joe Reynolds and costume design by Emma Wollenskey and Melissa Nelson. The cast featured Charlie Munn* as Percy Bysshe Shelley, Kristin Winters* as Mary Shelley, C.C. Kellogg as Claire Clairmont, Vincent Van Santvoord as George the Lord Byron, Tate Rehklau/ Nico Bonacci as Dr. William Polidori, and Lauren Guglielmello as Harriet Westbrook (*appearing courtesy of AEA).
The (un)Staged Reading Series was conceived by C.C. Kellogg with the cast and creative team.
Special thanks to John Alfone, Matthew Armstrong, Anastasia Auber, The Bath and North East Somerset Council, Jaclyn Bethany, Lindsea Bevington, April Bingham, The Brooklyn Art Library, The Byron Society, Meredith Case, John Clark, Wendy Corn, Ashley Dennig, Steve Donie, Fractured Atlas, The Garage International and Shakti, Lawrence Gasda, The Harry Ransom Center, Kathryn Harvey, Hops and Grain, The Keats-Shelley Association of America, Coley Kellogg, Estee Kellogg, Anya Klepikov, Andrew Koger, Andrew Leisman and Julia Macalaster, Charlene & Tom Marsh, Erica McCarthy, The Metier Foundation, The Morgan Library, Michael Murphy, Suze Myers, Claudia Johnson, Mark Paredes, Marissa Passi, Steven Peterman, Amelia Raley, Beau Reichert, #Romantics200, Pamela Rose, Jessica Ryan, The Sekrit Theater, Jeremy Schroer, Tammy Starling, Alexandria Subia, Mary Anne Taylor, Irene Yardley, Jordan Tiberio, Tim Vasen, and Susan J. Wolfson.