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Theatre Royal Stratford East to show playwright’s sequel to popular Shakespeare comedy

PUBLISHED: 16:00 21 February 2017 | UPDATED: 10:35 23 February 2017

Samantha Sutherland wrote and stars in Thisbe

Samantha Sutherland wrote and stars in Thisbe

Kate Morley PR

A sequel to one of the Bard’s most celebrated plays is set to shake up our perception of two of his star-crossed lovers.

Thisbe, written and starring Samantha Sutherland, is the follow-up to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, set 14 years on.

The play, which has a four-night run at Theatre Royal Stratford East from tonight. examines what took place after the fateful night when Helena and Demetrius awakened in the woods in love, courtesy of a love juice given to Demetrius by Puck.

“I can remember thinking there is something off about this happy ending – something is not right,” explained Samantha.

Her story picks up with the pair’s daughter Thisbe who is feeling neglected by her love-obsessed parents.

“Her father is completely infactuated with her mother so doesn’t have time for her,” said Samantha, adding that the play addresses whether it is a “manageable” kind of love.

If this all sounds more like a Shakespearean tragedy than comedy, the 31-year-old makes pains to say it’s definitely not.

“It has dark moments but the play itself is full of fun,” she said.

“It doesn’t take the neglect too seriously.”

Thisbe is subsequently lured back to the same woods by Puck who plans to meddle with her parents’ magic-induced marriage.

She is then forced to work out whether she really wants to save her parents’ relationship.

Samanatha, a graduate of Rose Bruford drama school, said she had been mulling over the events since she played Helena, aged 11, in A Midsummer’s Night Dream.

She first put pen to paper in the summer of 2015 and Thisbe has “since been elaborated further”, receiving its premiere at Vault Festival last March.

The finished production, which features songs and an original music score, has a running time of one hour 15 min and is particularly suited to students.

Samantha also plays Hermia, Hesper, Aequitas and a fairy.

Does she worry about what literary purists will think?

“I would revel in hearing any questions,” she said.

“It is its own play. I am not trying to be Shakespeare.

Thisbe is at Theatre Royal Stratford East from February 21-25, tickets £10. Visit stratfordeast.com for more.

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