Shakespeare's Globe

RSS Rehearsal Notes 2

Paul will be playing Angelo, the goldsmith. So far, the cast has been working mostly on establishing an ensemble feeling within the company - Paul has not yet worked on his character in great detail.

Transcript of Podcast

Paul will be playing Angelo, the goldsmith. So far, the cast has been working mostly on establishing an ensemble feeling within the company - Paul has not yet worked on his character in great detail. The company have been considering the different themes of the play, one of which is travelling. Paul notes that, in Shakespeare’s time, travel was unsafe—you never knew what could happen. The plot of the play itself depends on travel gone awry: a shipwreck where family members are separated. The first scene shows the product of this mishap, a sad older man telling the tale of how his family was torn apart. The company has also been exploring the idea of coming into a strange place. Ephesus, where the play takes place, is located in modern day Turkey and the production will be set in the company’s own fantasy version of Ephesus.

At one rehearsal, Kathryn Hunter, the director, gave the company a picture and asked them to recreate that picture by depicting the people in it, using random props and costumes from a box. At the end of a twenty minute period of improvisation the actors were questioned in role, by the director. The company then recreated the scene, this time, with Antipholus and Dromio of Syracuse working as their characters. The other cast members, initially, had to act as the people in their pictures normally would towards strangers. The activity gave the company a chance to get a feel for Ephesian society (as they will portray it). The play will also use Turkish-style music and dance to help establish the company’s imaginary Ephesus.

So far, Paul hasn’t done any text work (at least, not in rehearsal time) because the company are working through the play scene by scene. The whole company worked on the first scene of Act 1: Egeon’s story. The cast split up into small groups and told the story in their own words, acting it using other genres such as silent film, opera etc. Next, they worked on Adriana and Luciana’s relationship. The cast were split into small groups and were encouraged to recreate three scenes from each time of the sisters’ lives (i.e. childhood, adolescence, and adulthood) that were not in the text. Paul likes to work in this way – with the entire cast brainstorming together on character, because he feels they’re getting more ideas that way, and that he really knows the characters that are being created.

Kathryn Hunter gave each actor an animal that she felt might be like their character in order to help them explore the physicality of their role in greater detail. She suggested that Angelo might be like an eel or an ant, but Paul says that he found an eel very difficult to act out, especially once he had to convert it into a human with eel-like qualities. The image was not that helpful for him, but he notes that sometimes he does find this activity useful.

For Paul the company’s biggest challenge at the moment is to establish a way of working together as a group that will enable them to effectively tell the story of the play. The challenge is to find a style for the production - a way for the production to be unique to the Globe and to create a tangible world for the audience.


These comments are the actor's thoughts or ideas about the part as s/he goes through the rehearsal process – they are simply his/her own interpretations and frequently change as the rehearsal process progresses.

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