Shakespeare's Globe

RSS Production Notes 1

Now that The Merchant of Venice has gone into performance the company go into rehearsal for the next play in the season, The Honest Whore by Thomas Dekker.

Transcript of Podcast

Now that The Merchant of Venice has gone into performance the company go into rehearsal for the next play in the season The Honest Whore by Thomas Dekker (with Thomas Middleton). Lilo will play Bellafront (the honest whore of the title) this is quite a substantial role and Lilo faces intensive weeks of rehearsal and performance. At present if Lilo has a matinee she rehearses from 9.00am-12.00 then performs in the afternoon. If she has an evening performance there will be a longer rehearsal period during the day.

Lilo ideally likes to have 2 hours to prepare for a performance. She begins this preparation by warming up physically and vocally. Lilo uses a range of exercises such as breathing exercises, Yoga (in particular to open up her rib cage) and some vigorous physical exercises (these help her lungs to open up and improve vocal quality and production). Jessica is not a particularly demanding physical role so Lilo will not do a more acrobatic warm up.

At this stage Lilo showers then has her wig fitted. This is quite a long process and Lilo uses this time to mentally prepare for the performance; she sings Jessica's song and goes through all of her lines in her head - concentrating particularly on parts which have proved difficult in previous performances.

Act 3 Scene 5 is still the most difficult scene for Lilo particularly the lines:

… is very meet
The Lord Bassanio live an upright life
For having such a blessing in his lady,
He finds the joys of heaven here on earth,
And if on earth he do not merit it,
In reason he should never come to heaven!

Lilo cannot decide why Jessica talks about this, it seems to Lilo almost as if Jessica knew Bassanio before, as in the play she has only just met him. Or do her words contain a veiled message to Lorenzo about how he should behave?

New things happen all the time in performance that subtly change the way Lilo plays Jessica e.g. Lorenzo has started to throw the bunny head he wears during the elopement scene up to Jessica, who wears it during her flight from her father's house.

At the moment there is no opportunity in the play for Jessica to speak directly to the audience and Lilo would like to find a moment where she can interact with them.

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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