The venue in Salisbury is an extraordinary stately home that the owner had restored from a wreck. He took us into the music room which actually includes a mural of Shakespeare so that was very nice.
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The venue in Salisbury is an extraordinary stately home that the owner had restored from a wreck. He took us into the music room which actually includes a mural of Shakespeare so that was very nice. Trafalgar Park has very beautiful rolling grounds and so we are playing with the house to our backs and fields and woods in front of us.
It really is a lovely setting, but it is also very cold and raining! As we were performing I looked up at one point, it was during the sword fight at the end, and it was pouring with rain. But that backdrop of the trees and the rain actually looked amazing. The rain is weirdly atmospheric if you can cope with it and when you get to the end of the show and you’ve made it through and the audience have made it through with you, there is this camaraderie which is so enjoyable.
Fortunately we have a typical British audience who turn up with their picnics two hours before the show. They sit in their cagoules and blankets in spite of the weather. It’s brilliant actually, people bring not just picnics, but almost like whole suits of furniture; they get their table out, they’ve got their chairs, they even have champagne on the go! Our audience is from the Salisbury festival and so they seem very geared up for the show. We have been getting some feedback and it has been very good. They are nicely responsive and it is very well attended.
We haven’t changed much with the set but the challenge is always how to deal with new spaces vocally. Each space that we have been in since we left the Globe has been a challenge like that. You don’t want to shout at them but you also need to work that little bit harder to deliver your performance out to an audience when you are in an outdoor space like here.
Although the weather is hard going I think the shows are good. That’s perhaps because we are becoming aware of not wasting any time, we are trying to keep it as tight as possible because after all they are shivering and we are shivering. I think the two and a half hour Hamlet is much appreciated here!