Juana played by Jo Dockery
Much Ado About Nothing (2017)
Written by: Shakespeare
Taking on the role of Don John, Jo Dockery plays Juana in Much Ado About Nothing.
Jo trained at Rose Bruford.
Previous theatre includes: Any Means Necessary (Nottingham Playhouse); Great Britain, Timon of Athens, Antigone (National Theatre); The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time (Apollo Theatre); Backbeat (Duke of York’s Theatre); Pants on Fire’s Ovid’s Metamorphosis (Edinburgh / New York / UK Tour); Macbeth (Stafford Gatehouse Open Air Theatre) and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat (Bill Kenwright UK Tour).
Television includes: The Trial.
"I tell you what I have learned, the big thing for me on this job was I came back to work after having a baby. I took the job really wanting to do it and found it very, very tough in the first two weeks. But coming through that I have realised, it’s made me think God, if I can do that I can do anything!"
With just a few performances left, Jo prepares to bid farewell to the Juana, the Globe, and the girls.
"You do change the way you play certain parts...you don’t want to make too many decisions that would throw anyone off. But at the same time you want to keep it fresh. So it’s finding what you can do within reason, and different parts allow different amounts of freedom I think..."
As Much Ado enters its last week of performances, Jo takes us through how the cast has kept the show fresh over the last three months.
"Actually that transition from day to night shows we found quite strange. I remember there was a week where everything seemed to change. We were like, ‘Oh, that scene is in darkness...’. And it kind of tumbled really quickly and we didn’t expect it, and you have to kind of readjust slightly. I mean some scenes, for me, work so much better in the evening, because I’m doing the villainous bits..."
Talking to us during a break in the show, Jo reflects on her favourite moments on stage, takes us through her mid-show break off stage, and looks ahead to the Midnight Matinee.
"I do two of my scenes on an island in the middle of the Yard. And you have to barge through the groundlings, literally, to get there! And then that feels very, very close and very personal. Obviously people aren’t aware that you’re coming in behind them. ‘Oh, there’s someone coming. Oh God, it’s an actor! Oh no, what are they going to do?’ I think that’s what I would be like too!'
With rehearsals behind them, Jo reflects on the cast's experience of Tech Week, and performing both in front of and in an audience.
"Matthew was getting the company to improvise cows, and Anya was absoultely brilliant at being a cow! Someone's job was to like herd the cows, and she just kept drifting and drifting. And she got so far because the person didn't catch up with her, she just pressed the exit button out of the rehearsal room as a cow!"
As fittings for costumes begin, Jo gives us a sneak peak into the world of the play, the music and jigs (plural), and the importance and improvisation of cows!
"I am playing Juana, who originally in the play is Don John. Matthew Dunster has reimagined that and I think it's working really, really well...I think! I hope! But it's so much fun, because I get to hang out with the boys and do all the boys' stuff. It works really well as a woman, so you can give the text double meaning..."
As rehearsals get underway, Jo introduces us to Juana, the other characters, and themes in Much Ado About Nothing.
"It's quite a physical show and we've got some skills to learn. I and quite a few of the other cast members have had to learn stilt walking. And also guns, there's a lot of gun action in the show. So we're learning spinning and shooting and just generally trying to look like we actually own a gun, that's the first thing!"
Jo Dockery takes us through preparing for her first production at Shakespeare's Globe, including approaching the space, the text and the skills required.