Shakespeare's Globe

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"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.

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Time: 4 minutes 56 seconds

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Transcript of Podcast

Rona Kelly: So, we’ll get back into the next in our podcast series for Much Ado about Nothing, and today we’re joined by Jo...

Joanna Dockery: Hello and nice to see you again!

RK: Who is playing Juana.

JD: I am...still!

RK: You haven’t suddenly changed half way through!

JD: No, no! Still tackling that. 

RK: How are you doing?

JD: Very, very good. We just had a holiday, so we’re back and it’s always a bit strange, the first show back. But all still there.

RK: What’s it like having a bit of a break from the show? Is it still there in the back of your head?

JD: Yes. It’s actually nice having a break, I think, because you can start overthinking things, I think. And to have a bit of distance from it is nice and then you come back fresh.

RK: And it’s been a while since we caught up actually, so can you explain a bit to our listeners about what Tech Week is and how that experience was for the Much Ado cast?

JD: Of course, yes. So, it was a very...technical, tech rehearsal because we have quite a lot of music and dance, so that’s one thing. And then we had the guns, the stilts and things like that, so a lot of things to try out and make sure they were safe. Lots of quick changes for certain people in particular, like unbelievably quick changes, so things like that had to be dealt with. But generally it went very well, the tech. We got to the end! There was a point where you sort of go, ‘Are we going to get to the end?’ (during the tech). But we did and it picked up pace towards the end.

RK: I just remember sitting in the Green Room and hearing the tech run and them repeatedly doing the American refrain of the [American National Anthem]: 'Duh, duh, duh, duh, duh...' 

Both: 'Duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh!'.

RK: …which is annoyingly catchy! 

JD: It is really catchy! I caught Dog Berry, Ewan [Wardrop], singing that the other day. I was like, 'You’re singing your own theme tune!' I was like, 'Now your head’s getting a bit big!'

RK: It is too catchy. So yes, that was Tech Week. What was it actually like getting it on the stage before an audience for the first time?

JD: We had an open dress which I felt...I mean everyone, obviously always that first show is scary but exciting. I’ve not performed here before and the audience in that dress, that open dress, compared to the first night was so drastically different. They were so involved. I’ve been to the Globe before, I’ve been in the audience. But I didn’t realise how with you they are from the beginning and I was just gobsmacked. I couldn’t believe it, it was amazing actually, that first night was really, really memorable for that. And I was like, ‘They’re laughing!’ And it’s in people’s faces; they’re just so there. 

And it sounds really obvious, but until you get out there and do it...and I do two of my scenes on, there’s an island in the middle of the audience, and you have to barge through them, literally, to get there! And then that feels very, very close and very personal. It took me a while to get used to that, I think. Now I can kind of engage with people a little bit. Before, I think in the first few shows I just ignored everyone! I thought, 'Just speak a line!'  But it definitely took a while to kind of get used to that.

RK: Can you tell us a bit about that, because your character (as you say) goes out into the audience and you’re really in amongst them. Take us through what was going through your head the first time you did that, and then how you’re finding it now.

JD: Well, first of all…obviously people aren’t aware that you’re coming in behind them. So first of all they’re like, ‘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. I’d think, 'Are they going to interact with me? Oh my God, this is mortifying!' So there’s all that. And so people don’t immediately move out of the way, so I was silently pushing though at first and now I find little ways. I click [finger clicks] and ‘Psst’ at people, which is so awful! 

Ive found it so against [herself]. Some lovely people and trying to move their bags but you can’t say, ‘Excuse me’, or ‘Would you mind?’ 

RK: 'Sorry, sorry!'

JD: So I had to find these ways of kind of getting through quickly and in character and getting on. You know, you get used to that and they love it, people love it because they realise eventually that it’s ok, you’re in character!

RK: It's like, 'Juana was right there, right there!' I remember Titus [Andonicus] with people just barging through the Yard. That was like intense levels and they just grab peoples beers and throw them.

JD: I’ve seen it happen at the Globe and I don’t know if I could do it! I don’t know if I could do it! I’ve seen people, Golda Rosheuvel [Mercutio] in Romeo and Juliet, she was amazing with the crowd, absolutely amazing. Kissing people! And I’m getting braver, but it’s taken me like a long time!

Thanks to Liz for the transcription of this interview.

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