This is the third bulletin from the Friar (Rawiri Paratene). It covers Rawiri's second week of rehearsals including getting the play on its feet and his work on movement and dance - all very active!
Transcript of Podcast
Getting the play on its feet
After having spent the first week doing table sessions and figuring out the language, we have now started standing up, starting to move and letting the play breathe and come to life. So we figure out where I enter from, where I exit, at what points I move and where I move to, if there’s any point I stand still, and so on. We try lots of different things. Yesterday, for example, I did the scene with Adetomiwa [Edun, playing Romeo] where Romeo comes to the Friar after he has been banished. I remember when I played Romeo as a young man, and it was my favourite scene then; Romeo gets a chance to be a spoilt brat (and really inside all of us, we want the opportunity to be spoilt brats), but the power of the words of the Friar bring him back from that heavy “ban-ish-éd”.
I’ve also noticed Dominic [Dromgoole, the director] gives very subtle notes, but that when I execute that note, it actually makes a huge difference. I was standing a certain way the other day during my first speech, and Dominic told me to change my posture; I’ve played quite a few older characters, so maybe I’ve got into the habit of standing a certain way, but when I did move differently, it made the whole speech much lighter and younger, which is what we are hoping ot achieve.
When Dominic has been working on scenes that I’m not in, I’ve been having some great classes with the experts at the Globe. One of those was a group session with Glynn [McDonald, the movement expert]. She talked about how there are four main archetypes of movement which characters tend to adopt: the king; the warrior; the magician; and the lover. Each has a different posture and type of movement associated with them, and that can bring out different characteristics. So the king, for example, represents authority and should be in control all the time, but he must always feel the weight of the crown pressing down on his head.
The Friar obviously isn’t a king, and he’s not a warrior or the lover – he’s a magician. However, when I started working with Glynn on the archetypal magician, his movement was all very, very quick and it felt very young. As I said before, I’m not thinking of the Friar as ancient, but I do think he’s closer to my age and so isn’t a young magician – this felt too energetic and a little chaotic. So I asked if it was possible for the magician to be older, and Glynn told me that all of these archetypes evolve and the magician evolves into a wizard. That’s as far as I am with that at the moment so I’m waiting to explore it further and share that journey with Glynn.
The other class I am about to have at the end of the week is with the voice coach, Jan [Haydn Rowles]. I’ve not had much success with voice teachers in the past; it might be that I haven’t understood them and what they were doing, or maybe I didn’t put in the work. But I’ve worked with Jan before, when I was here for the International Fellowship, and I think she’s fantastic – we have a very fun relationship. And training your voice specifically for the Globe is so important; it’s such a different space from anywhere else, not only because you are outside and there are planes flying overhead, but it requires something else of you as an actor. I’ve got a pretty big voice anyway, so I’ve been told that I can get away with more than a lot of other people as I have quite a lot of natural support behind my voice, but I feel I’m at the level now where I want to do more than the basics. So we’ll see how that turns out on Friday!
Dancing: The Jig
Every show at the Globe has a jig at the end, and I think it’s such a grand idea; it’s based entirely in history and would have happened in Shakespeare’s day, and I think it’s a fantastic thing to do, particularly at the end of a tragedy. That might seem strange, but there are three dead bodies on the ground – Paris, Romeo and Juliet – so it’s a gloomy piece, a grim picture that is painted at the end of the play. And then there is silence for a moment before the jig. I think it is a wonderful way to say, “OK, that our play, the “two hours traffic of the stage”. It’s over, let’s have a dance!”
I love dancing and I love being physical, and I’ve done a lot of musical theatre as a younger actor, having big dancing roles in shows like Cabaret. But even when I was doing that, I didn’t learn things immediately as I’m not a natural dancer. And the rest of the company have had many more dance sessions because they’re all in the masked ball, whereas I haven’t really been doing any because obviously the Friar isn’t in that scene. So I feel I’m maybe struggling a little, but I’ll get there!
These comments are the actor's thoughts and ideas about the part as he goes through the rehearsal process - they are simply his own interpretations and frequently change as the rehearsals progress.