Don Pedro played by Steve John Shepherd
Much Ado About Nothing (2017)
Written by: Shakespeare
Appearing in his first production at Shakespeare's Globe, Steve John Shepherd plays Don Pedro in Much Ado About Nothing.
Other theatre includes: Plastic (Theatre Royal Bath); The Good Canary (Rose Theatre, Kingston); A View from Islington North (Out of Joint); Bomber’s Moon (Trafalgar Studios / Park Theatre); Albion (Bush Theatre); Piaf (Donmar Warehouse / Vaudeville Theatre); The Five Wives of Maurice Pinder, Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads (National Theatre); Original Sin (Sheffield Crucible) and Dangerous Corner (Garrick Theatre).
Film includes: Entebbe, The Best Man, Too Much Too Young, Boudicca, Star Wars Episode II, Now You See Her, Me Without You, From Hell, Greenwich Mean Time and I Want You.
Television includes: Silent Witness, Waking the Dead, Lunch Monkeys, Being Human, Material Girl, Plus One, Cold Blood, The Bad Mother’s Handbook, Bonkers, Lilies, Dalziel and Pascoe, New Tricks, Last Chancers, Real Men, The Knock, An Unsuitable Job for a Woman, Maisie Raine, This Life and Eastenders.
"I think to be stuck and to just be saying, 'Right, this is my performance that I’m going to give', and to not deviate from that, I’ve found that I can’t do that here. You can’t do that here. The audience tell you what the scene’s about, which is a first..."
As the final production of the Summer of Love plays to its final audiences, Steve takes some questions from our online audiences.
"The Tourette’s performance was particularly interesting. That turned into something of great joy, because they were just commenting all the time. There was almost like two performance running concurrently. So the audience were reacting to them and reacting to us, not in a pejorative way."
With just a few performances left, Steve shares what he's learned and looks back on his favourite moments moments from the run.
"But you do that as an actor anyway. I mean I wake up now with a line from four years ago in a play and I go, ‘I should’ve played it like that!’ That never ends. And of course because it’s Shakespeare, this stuff’s bombproof. You can just throw anything you like at it and it’s just the terrifying beauty of his words and the way he constructs them..."
As performances continue, Steve looks back on the power of Shakespeare's words, and the reactions they produce in actor and audience.
"For six weeks, I practised on those stilts every day to get as natural with them as I possibly could. My first test of going up the ramp in the rain on the tech, I fell over for the first time...I immediately thought, 'I have to get up and come straight back up the ramp again'. Because there was a seed of fear born then and I had to squash that there and then..."
As performances begin on stage, Steve takes us through the highs (and quite literal) lows of Tech Week.
"I’m just going with it and just try and be brave. I think with Shakespeare lots of people can feel cowed by the enormity of the text, by just his legacy and not wanting to be crap. But I think one has to be brave and really push it..."
Looking back on rehearsals so far, Steve takes us through stilt work, the legacy of Shakespeare, and working with Matthew once again.
"Today we’ve been doing lots of singing and lots of dancing, which is all quite intricate. And we have been working with the weapons, because there’s quite extensive weaponry being used, rifles and revolvers, whips. And stilt work as well..."
As rehearsals continue, Steve discusses preparing for the role of Don Pedro, including learning new skills, character work, and working in the Globe for the first time.
"It’s been reworked by Matthew Dunster, so it was essential to have a look and see whether he'd cut any of my speeches...I'm joking! It’s set in Mexico in 1910 at the time of the revolution with Pancho Villa and Zapata and Huerta. So it’s really, really exciting..."
As the cast begin their first week of rehearsals, Steve John Shepherd tells us about his previous experience with Shakespeare, the play, and the world of this production.