"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.
Time: 3 minutes 49 seconds
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Transcript of Podcast
Rona Kelly: We’re now in day four of rehearsals.
Steve John Shepherd: We are.
RK: The very first week, and how have rehearsals been going so far?
SS: Well, the first day is always first day at school so even if they say they’re not, everyone is always a little bit nervous. Then we did the read through. It’s like being on a set and getting your first take in the can. It's getting the read-through out the way, not out of the way, but getting it done so you have planted your flag. This is where I am roughly now.
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.
RK: And stilts! Any pipes?
SS: No pipes, but I might work have to work on that. I think Don Pedro needs a pipe! Yes, it’s very intense but very enjoyable.
RK: Starting to get the groundwork as you get the skills you need.
SS: Yes, the kind of scaffolding. The resources here are so amazing, it really is amazing. As an actor, you think, 'Crikey, that’s brilliant! Oh, there’s a person who can help me with this'. I am sure there is a pipe guy who’s going to help me with pipes!
RK: Have you not met Matt! You do have a great team on hand at the Globe, from everyone from text, movement, to voice...
SS: It’s incredible, you feel so spoilt. It’s never like this (by the way anybody whose listening who wants to be an actor), it’s never this good. So, when you’re here make the most of it!
RK: As you read the play what were your initial impressions of your character, Don Pedro?
SS: I think that superficially you could view him as being a kind of a matchmaker, a person who enjoys his power and can move things. He’s an enabler, he has that power. He’s quite a benevolent ruler, but then underneath that there is a darkness to him, there is a pain that he has. He has some sort of blind spot about love, so it’s going to be interesting to try and explore what that is. Was his heart broken in the past, or what’s his thing? He's got this thing that he hasn’t quite revealed to me yet. Hopefully I’ll find that in time before the production starts...otherwise it could probably be a bit crap!
RK: The good thing with the Globe as well is you’re always discovering stuff, even after rehearsals finish. Once you bring it before an audience, they help you unlock as you go as well.
SS: Sometimes it’s in performance the answers come.
RK: This is your first time performing at the Globe, I believe? How do you anticipate performing in that space, in that wooden O?
SS: Looking at the picture of it now, the auditorium there, I think the one thing that you’ve got to be willing to do is to relinquish total control, because you’re not going to get that. Sonically it’s going to be very different, very weird: you’ve got this huge hole in the ceiling. So, what if it starts tipping it down with rain? These things have to be factored in: aeroplane noise, sirens, all these things are going to permeate performance. So I’m going to try not to fight that, he said!
RK: I’ve seen quite a few productions where they’ve been plagued with helicopters or plagued with rain or pigeons. Pigeons are the real surprise. Wait till you see the first pigeon fly through a performance and you’ll see nine hundred heads go [follow it].
SS: Oh, great!
RK: It will be a good task trying to sustain the attention when you’ve got a pigeon flying and stage diving.
SS: So you don't get mobile phone warnings, it’s pigeon warnings! Please turn your pigeon off! Well, we’ve got some guns in this so I might try and take one out!
Thanks to Alison for the transcription of this interview.