Shakespeare's Globe

RSS Rehearsal Notes 3

As the rehearsals progressed Andrew felt that he was coming to understand Gratiano's motivation, intentions and line of thought.

Transcript of Podcast

As the rehearsals progressed Andrew felt that he was coming to understand Gratiano's motivation, intentions and line of thought – the journey he goes through in the play. He has been thinking of helpful images for Gratiano, Andrew saw him as the last person at a party in the kitchen looking at all the empty bottles of wine!

He decided that for his interpretation Gratiano has meet Nerissa before on a previous trip to Belmont - the reason he is so anxious to go with Bassanio to Belmont is to see Nerissa again.

Andrew feels that Gratiano cannot bear silence – he has to talk!

Andrew initially saw Gratiano as very vibrant – a character who is very large. Towards the end of the rehearsal period he experimented with toning his portrayal down, concentrating on making sure he was communicating the ‘truth’ in the lines – having done this he was then able to return to a more exaggerated portrayal – the blasting trumpet that he spoke about earlier. Andrew feels that the most important things for him as an actor are to base his character in ‘truth’ and then be as brave as possible in his performance.

Andrew now considers that Gratiano is basically shy and he over compensates for this by being loud. The world that Gratiano inhabits at the beginning of the play is Venice, a world in this production at least, of commerce, Christianity and womanizing, a place where the appearance of success is the only thing that matters. When Gratiano reaches Belmont he realises that there is another way of living.

Andrew knows that a key issue for audiences will be Gratiano's racism – the fact that Andrew is black will add another dimension to the questions raised by his performance.

Andrew now feels like Gratiano is an old friend, he is eager to try working with an audience. He hopes that all his work will come together to enable him to portray Gratiano as a truly complex character.

These comments are the actor's thoughts or ideas about the part as s/he goes through the rehearsal process – they are simply his/her own interpretations and frequently change as the rehearsal process progresses.

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