Thursday, August 2, 2018

Tragicomic brings Shakespeare to Comics and Screens!

Above: From left:  Liv Scott as Isla Stevenson and Nova Moala-Knox as Hannah Moore. Photograph by Tabitha Arthur.

Tragicomic is a ground-breaking new digital media experience, debuting as both a webseries and a webcomic, inspired by William Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

The series is the latest project from The Candle Wasters, the SPADA New Filmmakers of the Year for 2017, a team of four young women (and a token dude) from Wellington. With help from New Zealand On Air, they make fierce, funny, feminist webseries that have so far amassed over 5 million views worldwide. 

The Candle Wasters are: Claris Jacobs, Elsie Bollinger, Minnie Grace, Robbie Nicol & Sally Bollinger. Their production name is derived from a Much Ado About Nothing quote which refers to people who stay up late at night wasting candles. Claris, Elsie, Minnie, and Sally met at Western Springs College in Auckland. They began making webseries when the youngest of the group was just 17. Robbie Nicol, of the popular political satire White Man Behind a Desk, joined the writing team in 2016.

Above: Nova Moala-Knox as Hannah Moore. Photograph by Tabitha Arthur.

Tragicomic follows Hannah Moore, a world weary 15yr old, she’s an aspiring cartoonist searching for the truth about her missing dad. Tragicomic invites you to revisit Hamlet and high school through the eyes of a teenage girl. Lovesick, isolated, and venting her feelings through her comics, Hannah is on a quest to discover what really happened to her absent father. All the while uncovering a secret from her family's past that will follow her for the rest of her life. Tragicomic is a ten part webseries and twenty part webcomic, created to be read and viewed together.

Tragicomic breaks new ground by inviting the audience to scroll through both film and cartoon components of the story. We see the protagonist, Hannah, upload her comics to the internet, and you can scroll down to see what she has created. The majority of comics are drawn by Sally Bollinger (who also co-directs the webseries).
Above: Tragicomic artwork from the comic version by Sally Bollinger.

Bollinger's comics have been published in The Millennial, and NZ woman's comics anthology Three Words, and the recent children’s Annual. In 2015 she received a mentorship from the Society of Authors to work on a graphic novel. Her mentor was cartoonist Dylan Horrocks, who also makes a Stan Lee-like cameo in Tragicomic, providing guidance and encouragement to Hannah as she develops her comics. Like one of Hamlet’s soliloquies, each comic gives the audience an insight into our hero’s mind. The webcomics grow increasingly dark as the fairytale characters grow to represent Hannah’s increasingly paranoid view of the people in her life.

You can watch part one of Tragicomic when it is released on YouTube and RNZ this Friday, 3rd of August. You can check out The Candle Wasters website HERE, and subscribe to their youtube channel HERE, so you don't miss any upcoming episodes!

- AK!