Shakespeare's Globe

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“It being a comedy [means] every night is different, so there’s that wonderful thing as an actor of remaining aware of your relationship with the audience.”
In his third interview Dickon discusses his thoughts about the play now it has come together as a single piece, and the relationship with the audience.

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Time: 6 minutes 16 seconds

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Transcript of Podcast

Phil Brooks: Welcome to the Adopt an Actor podcast series. This is the third interview with Dickon Tyrell who is playing the role of Humphrey in The Knight of the Burning Pestle.

How was Tech week? I guess that was the first time you all came together as one group?

DT: it was great obviously because we had to find the play. However because of the time restrictions we didn’t do a run through in the rehearsal. So we actually went into tech not having done a run through. So that, I don’t think that’s ever happened to me before. Its nobody’s fault, it was just about Adele not having enough time to put us all together for three hours. So once Malfi had gone, then we were able to focus on the play. But we were tech-ing the play not having done a run-through, there were certain bits of it I hadn’t seen. So I was hoping my bits would all fit together but really having no overall view of the piece. So having to find that in the tech and our first run through was the dress rehearsal. So, we did two days of tech, Tuesday and the Wednesday. Then on the Thursday we did a bit of tech in the morning, Thursday afternoon the dress and then we were in front of the public in the evening.  It was terrifying. But we managed to start to find the world of the piece as a company very late in the day.

PB: And how was it seeing the play once it had all come together into one thing?

DT: Extraordinary. I mean it’s a wonderfully anarchic and chaotic piece. And with huge, extraordinary people coming from actor’s imaginations and the directors imagination. So it was thrilling to see it. At the same time you are preoccupied with what you’ve got to do in front of an audience and you feel under rehearsed. So realising that the preview period would also be extended rehearsal there would be a lot of time to tighten up, focus in, and just getting confident really. So that first preview was, I can’t really remember it I was so terrified. It’s just sort of a blur!   

PB: Moving on slightly, how important would you say music is to this production?

DT: Oh, Nigel Hess the composer, so important. And it’s live which is wonderful. And Nigel, I worked with Nigel on Henry VIII, he’s a really good, a really good composer. He really understands the music of the writing, so he helps tell that, remain part of that world. The character Merrythought, who practically is just a singing part, extraordinary energy that comes through his songs. There’s a great celebration in the songs, they really contribute to the energy of it.  

PB: And is there a lot of movement and dancing, and how is the jig?

DT: Yeah, well it’s interesting there’s not a jig, if you know the Globe jigs it’s not like a Globe jig, it’s more of a dance really than a choreographed jig. Which I think is wonderful for again, breaking the rules here that it isn’t the usual jig; it’s something that’s… It’s full of energy and sends the audience out on a high. As opposed, in contrast to the Malfi jig which was very sort of interesting…

PB: Slow and delicate…

DT: Detailed, sombre, reflective piece by the company.

PB: How have your initial impressions of your character changed or been confirmed since you started rehearsals?

DT: Well I think I’ve just got more confident because it’s a very funny part and he talks in couplets all of the way through. And I found it funny. But the audience absolutely thrive on these couplets, because some of them are very silly. But there is that, always that, when we’re children we love rhyme. I still think as adults people love the rhyme. So it was actually finding the confidence to actually push the rhyme even more, and certain comedy moments just, finding how to play them. But of course it being a comedy every night is different, so there’s that wonderful thing as an actor of remaining aware of your relationship with the audience and where they laugh. And sometimes if, you know you think this is definitely a laugh here, and then they don’t laugh, so its then Ok so you drive on with the story. That’s exhilarating, to have that focus of an evening. So your work with the other actors is extremely important but your engagement and communication and connection with the audience is vital there as well. And you can’t just be in your bubble, you must remain aware to where they are with you, and your story.   

PB: I guess especially as it’s such a, almost interactive play the audience is so much a part of it. How were their reactions, did they react in ways you expected?

DT: Much bigger, I mean it was, it’s kind of going out into the lion’s den. And my first, you know, people laugh at the costume, then big laugh at ‘Walk around me’. And then within about 6 lines of the rhyme then they are starting to laugh. That was amazing because I didn’t think it would have that sort of response but… so again it’s, the skill there is never to be asking for the laugh, you’ve still got to play the scene, otherwise you’re gonna get into terrible trouble.  But, it’s been a really interesting experience and the audience really find him very funny which is, great to play that.   

PB: Great thank you very much.

DT: That’s alright.

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