Here is the second part to the interview with the creators behind Kill Shakespeare. If you haven’t already read the first half, you might want to back track a bit and check it out. It covers a lot of the ideas behind the comic book and how the creators, Anthony Del Col and Conor McCreery, created the story itself and fit all of William Shakespeare’s beloved characters into a wild fantasy story.
This story is now being produced as a stage performance, is that correct?
Yep! We’re taking it to a number of cities and conventions (and many thanks to Toby Malone and Derek Boyes for all the amazing work they have done with us to shape the stageplay).
I just returned from a production of the Stage Reading in Tucson where it was a packed, standing-room-only crowd and an energetic performance. It was magical to see the crowd get involved in our story and see our words and images come to life!
I know that both of you have a background in film and television. Did you find having the performance done for the stage easier?
It was easy in that we could start with a strong foundation of the images and dialogue from the comic. However, as we’ve gone on we’ve altered it and played around with our story, which can be challenging as we can’t alter it too much that we can no longer use the panels/images.
They are certainly different mediums but we had a sense of how to tell a story and, just as importantly, how to pitch our story to fans, collaborators and publishers.
The comic has some pretty amazing set pieces and epic battles, how is that translating on the stage?
It is tricky. We use the images to tell the story so we don’t have a whack of people running around stage and stabbing each other. Then again, that lack of a massive battle also makes the show easy to produce for almost any theatre group.
The performance in Tucson, AZ was a lot of fun as the director chose to hand out cutlery to the audience as they walked into the venue and the audience was given cues when to use the knives/forks to create the backdrop for the battle scenes. It gave the battle scenes a much larger feel.
Are there some things that just couldn’t translate to the stage?
It was tough to get the entire Hamlet and Falstaff drag scene into the stage production due to time *and* accessible images. We’ve been able to wiggle it in a bit but it’s not as big a scene as it was in the comic series.
There have been a lot of moments when we thought “Man, I wish we had one NEW image to really make this beat sing…”
Also, given that we don’t see the actors physically interact some of the quieter, character based scenes have been tough to make work.
Where are the performances taking place?
We just did a production in Tucson, AZ and I’m currently answering this on my way to Montreal where we will be presenting it at the Montreal Comic-Con. We will then be doing it at the New York Comic-Con and Hal-Con next month.
And we’re crossing our fingers that we will get to Dubai in 2013, but Toronto (again) and Chicago are both on the docket for next year. Atlanta is pretty interested as well.
Are there any plans to take this to the big or small screen? And Do either of you have a personal preference?
We’ve been very fortunate to have been approached by producers in Canada and the U.S. I like the idea of T.V. right now because I think that structure lends itself to Kill Shakespeare’s existing story and I feel T.V. is telling better stories than film is right now. At the same time you can’t ignore how series like LOTR and The Matrix have done a great job of telling these epic, larger than life tales…
Both television and film have appealing aspects to them. Whatever way the market directs us is the direction that we will go.
With Game of Thrones being the dominant show in the classical old “English” fantasy setting, how would you market Kill Shakespeare differently to build a larger fan base or get more viewers?
We can target different audiences in different ways. We can appeal to the fantasy fans with our incorporation of magic and epic battles. We can appeal to the Shakespeare fans with the mash-up nature. We can appeal to female audiences through the love triangle that emerges as the story goes on.
I think GoT has opened a HUGE door for Kill Shakespeare. Game [of Thrones] has pulled in an audience of people who were not exposed to fantasy before and they find they like it. In some ways I think we’re more accessible because we’re a bit less “hardcore” fantasy and also because of the name recognition that these characters have.
If you went with the Hollywood adaptation route, who would be your first choice for director?
Oh gosh… there are so many great directors out there – but if I get to choose just ONE name I’ll go Alfonso Cuaron (Children of Men, the third Harry Potter film, Y tu mama tambien) I think he has shown an amazing ability to both tell an intimate story and to have his films work on an epic scope.
I don’t have a set name in mind. What I think would be best is to find an up-and-coming director that would be an unconventional pick to shepherd the project. Similar to Peter Jackson and Lord of the Rings – nobody thought of him originally but through his passion and vision made it come to life and succeed.
Who would you pick play some of the key characters? Don’t have to name them all, just a few.
It’s still quite early for that. Similar to directors, I wouldn’t want to cast big “name” actors but instead find some up-and-coming actors for many of the roles.
Ha, liar! Anthony has LOTS of big names he’s bandied about… unless we’re considering his man-crush Ryan Gosling an “up-and-comer”. Idris Elba is someone we both like for Othello… I have a soft spot for Alison Pill… I think she’d be an AMAZING Juliet… (and I guess she’s still an “up-and-comer”)
What advice would you give to anyone creating a comic book but who doesn’t know where to start?
Find a great artists if you are not one already. This is a visual medium and the idea can only take you so far. Also really work your story so you know what it’s ABOUT, not just “what happens.”
And do a lot of research to see what’s currently selling and know how your titles will compare to those. And come to our workshops at comic conventions – we give you a crash course in an hour on how to break into the industry!
So there you have it!! I want to thank both Anthony Del Col and Conor McCreery for taking part in this interview and you can expect more stuff from them in the near future. Also, check out Kill Shakespeare in all its glory on Comixology or order it from their website.