This is Joseph's final blog post. This week he discusses reviews, the challenges of performing in a long run and the pros and cons of being recognised.
Transcript of Podcast
Sometimes, when I’m standing in the yard, people want to talk to me about The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. One man came up to me and said, “Hi, are you Geoffery from The Fresh Prince?” and I answered, “No, I am Cominius from Rome!” When people come up to me during the play, I have to say, “Sorry, I’m waiting for an entrance” and, “You can take a picture, but I cannot pose with you.” When I first walk on stage, I am aware that there can be a ripple of recognition - I notice it but I try not to take it into account. It is an actor's dream to have an audience and I have an audience. I am recognised and it is perfect. I don’t think that anybody presumes that I am ‘Geoffrey’ playing Cominius, it's just that they need a familiar anchor. It's great and long may it continue.
I think reviews are important but I don’t read them. My wife does but I don’t. If I were directing the play I would be interested in the reviews. I’ve been told the reviews for Coriolanus are pretty good but I find that reviews can then influence what I try to do on stage so it's better to ignore them. Often, the press department collate the reviews and send you a pack at the end of the run. I usually don’t want to read them then but a month later I might start to wonder what they said so I’ll look them up. I use them more as a resource rather than something to stroke my ego.
Performing in a long run
I think that performing a play in a long run does have particular challenges but it is all part of the job. The main challenge is trying to keep the play fresh and true to itself and not expect the same response from the audience that you had yesterday afternoon or last night.
The other day I was sitting in the dressing room going over my lines, and someone said to me, “You must know your lines by now!” And it's true, of course I must know them by now but it's important to keep reminding yourself of what you are trying to achieve. It's like remembering the plan; you have to think about your original intentions. Although everything may get easier after a while, the fact that it is getting easier is due to the fact that you stop thinking, you stop trying to make it fresh and singular. You have to constantly keep reminding yourself what it is that you are saying right before you go on, just before the half, all the time.
So a long run is a terrific challenge. In some runs you don’t have the problem, you don’t need rehearsals, you simply come in for the evenings and you do your bit. I think the Globe expects a little more than just coming in and grabbing your cheque and going home. There is a certain amount of commitment. I think that as an actor you need that challenge and you need that commitment. You don’t just simply put it on and chuck it out there. It's either well baked or it's not.
The jig call
Before every performance, we have a jig call. The whole company goes onto the stage and we rehearse the jig we do at the end. There are two reasons we do this: firstly, if haven’t done a show for a few days then people need to get together and talk and secondly, it's an action piece, it's a reminder of the movements and it is a group action. The words you can do on your own but this sort of brings us all together for a common goal.
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.