Experience an acrobatic twist on Twelfth Night in Eaglesham and Glasgow

Charlotte McKechnie directs Viola: A contemporary Shakespearean Circus. (Photos: David Mar Photography)
Charlotte McKechnie directs Viola: A contemporary Shakespearean Circus. (Photos: David Mar Photography)

A brand new aerial theatre show by Clarkston director-producer Charlotte McKechnie will take audiences on a dark re-imagining of Twelfth Night, using aerial and acrobatic movement and live improvised music to investigate the psychological journey through identity, anxiety and isolation.

The World premiere of Viola: A contemporary Shakespearean Circus at Aerial Edge, Kelvinhall, Glasgow, this Friday, May 24, at 8.30pm.

Prior to this, on Wednesday, May 22, at the Eglinton Arms Hotel, Eaglesham, there will be a chance to enjoy a three-course meal while discovering the dazzling world of contemporary circus and opera, including a never-before-seen preview of Viola.

Twelfth Night is a Shakespearean comedy about changing identities and turning conventions on their head.

Viola reimagines the play purely through her point of view, using aerial and acrobatic movement to illuminate the inner questions and turmoil of Shakespeare’s most vibrant heroine.

Charlotte (27) – director and deviser of this stunning new show – said: “I was struck by the very genuine crisis of identity and expectation that Viola/Cesario expresses when I was studying the role of Viola and her central monologue (in which she discusses impersonating the male courtier Cesario in a foreign court).

“In the context of the wider play with its interweaving storylines and multiple characters, Viola/Cesario’s struggle is slightly glossed over, eventually used as a means to a ‘happy ending’ with her marriage to Orsino. I wanted to explore the evolution of her psyche in more detail and tease out the questions and inner conflicts introduced in that monologue.

“A solo show was the perfect way to do that: our audience sees everything from Viola/Cesario’s perspective without filter or respite.

“It’s very raw, and – especially then expressing that inner turmoil purely through movement – it’s very powerful.

“Using the central monologue as a starting point, I went back through the play and looked at all the scenes particularly pertaining to Viola/Cesario and then created a new storyline.”

Joining with Scottish aerialist and National Centre for Circus Arts graduate Adam Wright as performer and choreographer, Charlotte developed a new script from the Bard’s text and developed the show with Wright whilst in residence at the Aerial Edge studio.

Using a solo acrobat/aerialist and violin/cello duo with projected text from the play, Viola offers both a new way to interact with the Bard and to understand ourselves.

Tickets are available online for the Eaglesham preview show and dinner on Wednesday, May 22, at Vioa Dinner and for the performance at Kelvinhall, Glasgow, on Friday, May 24, at Viola Premiere