Shakespeare's Globe

RSS Final Performances 1

"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.

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Transcript of Podcast

Rona Kelly: So here we are for the very last podcasts for the Summer of Love. And today we are joined by Steve from the Much Ado About Nothing company.

Steve John Shepherd: Hello.

RK: This is the Friday before the final few performances. You’ve got how many left now? 

SJS: One.

RK: Just the one, wow! And you’ve just stepped off stage from a matinee...

SJS: Hence me sweating all over you!

RK: How are you feeling, at this point?

SJS: I’m feeling excited that it’s going to finish...not because I’m not enjoying it, but because it’s been quite grueling. It’s been quite a long run; seventy-one performances. It’s quite a long time, so it will be nice not to have to come in for a bit. After about a week, I’ll probably start missing it, because it’s how it always is. Yes, I’m feeling good.

RK: I think you had three performances in a row this week. You did a matinee, an evening and then a matinee right at the beginning of the week. The schedule gets a bit more gruelling in the last few shows.

SJS: It really does. That was really difficult, because it’s three in less than twenty-four hours. So it’s a bit of a bugger, but we got through it.

RK: And, of course, we did the Midnight Matinee a couple of weeks ago. How was that?

SJS: We did. Well, I thought it was going to be a lot more raucous and bawdy! It wasn’t, everyone was extraordinarily polite. So it was a very nice time, but it was very relaxed. It was just very curious getting your half [hour call] at twenty-five past eleven. That’s definitely a first!

RK: Were there any after the show shenanigans, or did you just all go home and sleep?

SJS: Oh no, I think all the young ones stayed and partied! But I’m way too decrepit for that!

RK: You said you’ve done seventy-one performances here. What have you learned from performing in this space? 

SJS: I have learnt that...well, it’s essentially a thrust stage, isn’t it? I’ve never performed on a stage as big as this in a kind of thrust idea. So playing out to the sides has been a real thing. And also, what I’ve really learnt about this is how lovely it is to engage with the audience. You can pick people out and you can respond to them and I’ve never had that before, because ordinarily if you are in a dark theatre, the first four rows of people you can see and they are always very well-behaved. So here, people call out and it’s a real sort of to and fro, which has really surprised me but I’ve really enjoyed it. 

RK: Have you had any really memorable audience reactions which stick with you?

SJS: Well, 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. It was just a really interesting weird dynamic. But they were brilliant and extraordinarily funny and quick-witted. So they were often beating us to the lines, so we had to really be on our toes!

RK: That’s great. What is a favourite moment from the play? Is there one bit that you really look forward to doing?

SJS: Well, increasingly, it’s smoking my cigar which is a bad sign! Because I’m becoming habituated to it, I think. Seventy-one times and I’m beginning to look forward to it now! I think, 'Right, this is the time when I get to have a smoke!'

Thanks to Mary for the transcription of this interview.

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