Theatre wunkerkind Jethro Compton and his troupe return to Adelaide with their acclaimed theatre production The Bunker Trilogy.
Compton’s Bunker Trilogy was staged locally in 2014 to ecstatic reviews. Compton’s crew took over an abandoned building in the city’s west and turned the space (including the performance space and the foyer) into a dug out for the WWI setting of Macbeth, Morgana and Agamemnon. This time around, they will transform part of the Botanic Gardens. “We’ve got an incredible location [Noel Lothian Hall] right in the heart of the Botanic Gardens – it’s such a gorgeous setting,” Compton says. “Just as 2014, we have the space to ourselves to transform into the First World War dugout that is such a huge feature of the production.” The Bunker Trilogy is just one of many productions from the writer and director’s theatre group Jethro Compton Productions. Recently, they have staged two other trilogies (The Frontier Trilogy and The Capone Trilogy) as well as The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and Sirenia. Why did they decide to return with Bunker…? “There were two factors that really swayed our decision; the first is that we are a group of young British boys and girls, and performing stories internationally makes more sense if those stories are British stories, or stories told from a British perspective. The Bunker Trilogy is the only British project we’re currently performing so that limited our choices. The second factor is that, despite the fact Bunker… had a really successful run in 2014, it was only later in the festival that audiences really heard about us. Once word of mouth had spread, we found we were often sold out and a lot of audience members were unable to see all three parts of the trilogy. Hopefully returning this year will give everyone a chance to see all three and give us a chance to engage with a bigger audience than in 2014.” Compton beleives that each of the The Bunker Trilogy stories connect with war in a “unique and personal way”. “Morgana deals with the innocence of the young troops, Agamemnon considers those who are left behind at home, Macbeth confronts the mental and psychological horrors of war. When an audience sees all three, it’s such a journey for them, and for the cast to perform, and it really gives us a chance to look at a really dark period of history without limiting ourselves to one particular perspective.” Compton’s productions have a cinematic edge, with the writer and director saying the company sets a lot of pieces during times such as war, the wild west and Capone-era Chicago because these are eras that audiences “know and can relate to”. “I always think it’s great to take stories and re-imagine them in different settings, different time periods, and by doing so, we create an entire new story and find a new perspective on something well known – it’s really what all storytellers are doing, simply finding a new way to tell an old story. The imagery of these settings is so vivid and they are aesthetics that our designers and production team can spend a huge amount of time creating, offering the audience a chance to be truly transported into these environments.” The Bunker Trilogy (Agamemnon, Macbeth and Morgana) Noel Lothian Hall (Botanic Garden) Friday, February 12 to Monday, March 14 jethrocomptonltd.co.uk