In this week's entry, Laura [Pyper, Cressida] talks about the first day of rehearsals, her research into the role and the set design.
Transcript of Podcast
I missed the ‘meet and greet’ on Monday, but I came in on Tuesday, very excited! We did a read-through, which can be really terrifying because you never know how big to go or how small to go. Luckily I don’t come in until about 15 pages in so I could gauge it by then. The read-through went well; it was really nice to see all the different characters and it made me realise how funny Shakespeare can be, even Troilus and Cressida – some of it is hilarious.
We have been doing lots of reading through the play, and then yesterday we had a big workshop where we created a market scene which will hopefully be used in the play for the Greek camp. It was a bit like improvisation. We were given two themes to work around – “the game” and “the theft”, which we had to incorporate into the backdrop of the camp; then we brought the whole thing together from the two different groups and it was fantastic. I was on the game … literally! There are not many women so I think I’ll be playing a prostitute while I’m in the Greek camp! That exercise was really helpful and even by the end of this week I can tell its going to be really fun as a cast and Matthew is great at creating a team. I think that is really important. Matthew [Dunster, director] wants to get us all very fit, so we do circuit training and stretching for an hour every morning! It’s great, because I am quite lazy so it’s nice to have someone to push you! There are stations and you do a different activity at each, going round in pairs. I think on day three I was with Jay [Taylor, Dimonedes] and my arms were really aching by then, from all the press-ups and he was yelling at me ‘Come on, three more, three more!’ so that was brilliant. And then there’s lots of nice stretching at the end. So that takes the first hour of every day. The rest of the cast did the sword fighting on Monday. All the girls and boys did it at first, but because they want to tighten it up now and actually create the scene, they’re just using the characters that are needed. But I’m not involved, so no fighting for me. Matthew Kelly [Pandarus] has had an early afternoon as well!
The research here is great and I find it really, really helpful. I loved the lecture by Dr. Farah [Karim-Cooper, Head of Courses and Research] because approached it from a feminist point of view, which I think is brilliant! One of the challenges of playing Cressida is that people are going to hate her, and I don’t want people to hate her. I guess that’s my challenge going into it; I want to fight for the all the women out there, particularly because it’s such a male-dominated play. The lecture was really helpful to see how women were viewed at that time; I took a lot from it.
Fitting the wig was actually really easy. They just put a sock / stocking on my head, and the first wig we tried on actually fitted, so it wasn’t that exciting. I think they knew what they wanted and luckily the right wig fitted. It’s just long and slightly curly, then they can do whatever they want with it, pin it up or whatever else.
The design is brilliant. I’m really excited to see how they use it to create a society, and an environment. It’s got a sloping front which could be used for a battlefield and also for the street scenes. Then there’s a kind of gutter along the bottom and they’re going to throw blood down it and there’s lots of flags and tents, lots of muslin for the tents. So it’s clever how they’re going to interchange it all, I’m really looking forward to seeing it.
These comments are the actor's thoughts and ideas about the part as s / he goes through the rehearsal process – they are simply his / her own interpretations and frequently change as the rehearsals progress