"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.
Time: 3 minutes 2 seconds
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Transcript of Podcast
Rona Kelly: As you’ve been exploring the character in the rehearsal week, have you done any activities, any exercises with Matthew [Dunster, Director] to help explore Don Pedro and his motivations and his character?
Steve John Shepherd: Well, I’ve worked with Matthew before and think he’s a profoundly talented director, and I’m not just saying that I do and he knows I think that. I’d happily be in every play he directed for the rest of my life; I got so much out of working with him before. It’s interesting that his method on this is completely different to the one that I worked on with him previously. So I’m just going with it and just trying to learn as much as I can and just to 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. And you’re here, and it sounds trite, but it's such a privilege to be here doing this, it really is cool. So, I just want to do the best I can. Sorry, I didn’t answer your question at all there!
RK: No, that’s absolutely fine!
SS: What have we done so far with exercises? Well, he’s very discreet, so sometimes you’ll do stuff and he’ll give you a note and you’ll think, 'I don’t understand what that note means'. And it will drop in a couple of weeks later...or in my case six months later when the job’s finished!
RK: As you take your final bow!
SS: Yes. 'Oh Christ, I should have played it like that! Ah, never mind.'
RK: As you’ve had the first few rehearsals, who are the people you’re finding or you think you’ll be working with the most in developing relationships with?
SS: Matthew Needham who plays Benedick, and Marcello Cruz who plays Claudio. We’re a group of three, we're sort of bandits if you like. So I should imagine there. But he spreads his tendrils quite wide and has sort of relationships with everybody, so hopefully it will be a good opportunity to [work with a lot of the other actors]. And Jo Dockery plays my sister Juana, so it’s going to be really exciting.
RK: And finally, what’s been your favourite moment? We’re only four days in, but what’s been a favourite moment so far from the rehearsal room?
SS: Favourite moment so far from the rehearsal room...the stilts were fun today, my first time on stilts! They're quite scary. We had our first session today, walking very, very gingerly on stilts and having four weeks to get up to being able to run on them.
SS: Yes, up a slope, up quite a steep gradient so that’s going to be a challenge. But that’s Matthew Dunster: he pushes you. It’s going to look amazing.
RK: Well thank you for joining us.
SS: A pleasure, thank you.
RK: And we’ll catch up with you just as we enter tech week or just after tech week, as the performances are starting.
SS: Right in the middle of my nervous breakdown!
RK: Exactly! We’ll just come and find you, it will be fine. Thank you very much.
SS: Thanks Rona.
Thanks to Alison for the transcription of this interview.