There’s no doubt that Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles is a classic. But because of its subject matter, many people find it a difficult read. Whether you love or loathe it, you’re sure to find Ockham’s Razor’s new take on this novel a winner. Tess explores questions of privilege, class, consent, agency, female desire and sisterhood, through physical theatre — making it relevant to contemporary audiences.
Tess is Ockham’s Razor’s first production based on a novel. It combines the original text with the physical language of circus, allowing the performers to retell the well-known story of power, loss and endurance through a feminist lens. It captures the poetry of Hardy and the philosophical depth of the novel, interweaving it with acrobatics, aerial dance and physical theatre. Something that seems quite fitting for a gut-wrenching story about the strength to endure.
Tess, a poetic and physical retelling of a classic novel
Using a distinctive yet simple set design — as you may expect from Ockham’s Razor — Tess evokes the physical labour of the original novel. The show features an ensemble of circus performers, five women and two men, from diverse backgrounds. Onstage, they wield wooden planks, shift walls, ropes and swathes of linen to create sets that unfold with the story. The cast balancing upon, climbing, carrying and constructing the scenes brings a sense of strength, capability and agency.
Ockham’s Razor is an award-winning company that’s re-defining circus. Since 2004, they’ve been producing ground-breaking and artistically excellent work, collecting critical and public acclaim along the way. Their distinct style of performance draws upon the relationships, emotions, and images of circus to create innovative theatre with coherent narratives and moving stories. Contrary Life has been lucky enough to catch several of their previous productions and we’ve loved them.
Whether it’s circus or theatre that’s your bag, our homepage has all the latest show previews, so you can find your next night out.
When: 31st January – 5th June 2024
Where: Touring to the Peacock Theatre in London, Traverse in Edinburgh, The Lowry in Salford, Lighthouse in Poole, Exeter Northcott, artsdepot in North London, Oxford Playhouse, Belgrade Theatre in Coventry, York Theatre Royal, New Theatre Royal in Portsmouth, Worthing Theatres and Salisbury Playhouse
£: Ticket prices vary, depending on the venue
More info: ockhamsrazor.co.uk