In his final blog post Gareth discusses rehearsals this week, how he feels about the cuts made to the play, and he looks ahead to rehearsing on the stage for the first time.
Transcript of Podcast
Rehearsal pace is incredibly relaxed. It’s disciplined though, everyone is on time, everyone is quiet in the rehearsal room, but the actual process is very democratic.
Chris [Luscombe, the director] has a sort of infallible instinct about what is funny. I’ve got a little scene by myself, so I said “Chris, I’d like 20 minutes alone with you.” I don’t mind making a fool of myself in front of any number of people, but if it’s just the two of us I know I will find something better, a bit bolder and more daring. So we don’t skate over it. I am nervous about skating over the bits that don’t look as if they need a lot of work.
Also, there are some scenes that need a lot more attention, because they are very complex physically. We spent the whole morning on the buck basket scene - when Falstaff is put into the washing baskets and carried out. Just the physical logistics of that are very complicated, and you have to be funny as well, so you’ve got to get the job done and be funny, so we spent a lot of time on that. You’re orchestrating the lines, you’re choreographing the moves – it’s like everything about rehearsing a scene but multiplied by five.
Cutting the play
It’s a very short show and very broad, comically. It’ll be surprisingly short. There are some cuts I regret and some re-attributions which I’m not totally convinced about.
To be perfectly honest I don’t have a huge investment in this text, I don’t think it’s a particularly good play - we wouldn’t be doing it if it wasn’t by Shakespeare - so I’m not possessive about it. Although I always get nervous about cuts, it’s a cliché, but if you cut a line it’s like a stone in a pond; there are always ripples, repercussions. If you cut that one line in an early act, that other line won’t make any sense, or have an echo or a pre-echo. Now, this play deserves cutting and it deserves re-writing in lots of ways, because it’s quite incomprehensible, so I worry more about the reattribution. It makes me nervous giving lines from one character to another in order to make the scene faster or funnier, it makes whatever purist there is in me nervous. It is radical in terms of cuts but those who don’t know the play wouldn’t even notice.
From page to stage
We go on stage tomorrow for the first time … well, not for the first time – we’ve had a tour – but acting for the first time. The transition will be interesting. We’ve been working on dynamics like sound and volume in theory but not in practice. In our cast, a few have been on that stage before: Sarah Woodward [Mistress Ford]; Andrew Havill [Ford]; Phillip Bird [Dr Caius]; and Ellie Piercy [Anne Page] although only once. There are some people like Phillip who know the stage terribly well, and have very definite views about it. I’ll be keeping an eye on him and asking him; they’re here to help.
These comments are the actor's thoughts or ideas about the part as he goes through the rehearsal process – they are simply his own interpretations and frequently change as the rehearsal process progresses.