"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!
Time: 4 minutes 17 seconds
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Transcript of Podcast
Rona Kelly: Now we're getting towards Tech Week, how do you feel about getting it on the stage and getting into costume for the first time? Have you seen your costume?
Jo Dockery: I haven't seen my costume, but there's been fittings starting today. I think I'm going to be fitted tomorrow. I'm really excited about that, because I feel like I'm very much [someone who] needs to know what I'm wearing, I need to get into the physicality of it. Especially for this, because it's very specific. Yes...all I can think about at the moment is walking on stilts! Up a ramp! That's my biggest worry, but it's just a case of practising. Things like that, they're quite big things at the moment in my head.
RK: I think I'd probably be focusing on that as well if I were in your shoes...in your stilts!
JD: 'In my stilts', brilliant!
RK: Do you want to tell us a bit about the world of the play? I think you revealed a few things as we were talking, but can you tell us where it's set and when it's set?
JD: Okay. So it's set in the Mexican Revolution, which started around 1910. It went on for quite a few years, I think it was like ten years...eight to ten years or something, so it was quite a long time. It's set then, so our environment is extremely hot and [this weather] is quite useful! And there was a lot of [research]. I mean it's amazing we've watched some documentaries on what was going on then...God, I can't remember any information now! But it's really fascinating and just how brutal it could be.
And these characters during the Revolution were just astonishing. There's a book that we've been reading and it describes these people of the revolution. A lot of women as well were fighting, which is quite unheard of in that period. Women did stuff that really pushed forward the revolution, you know really marked things. So that's brilliant and that's why Matthew [Dunster, Director] has brought the women into it so much.
RK: That's really interesting. And do we have a soundtrack to the show? Is music going to feature into that world?
JD: Yes. James [Maloney, Composer] is doing the music, and he's brilliant! So Matthew and James went to Mexico to research the music for the show...
RK: Yes, they did! We were all very jealous!
JD: Yes! Why weren't we all going to that research week? So they went there and they listened to a lot of music, and they've sort of brought the essence of it back. And it's brilliant. And the dance is very fast and intricate that goes along with that.
RK: Is this the jig at the end?
JD: Well, there's more than that. The jig is one of four dance numbers: there's two wedding scenes and then there's something earlier on as well, a sort of masked ball. There's lots of harmonies that we've learned. The music is amazing, it's really, really good.
RK: And finally, what's been your favourite moment from rehearsals so far?
JD: What's been my favourite moment...? I did say that to someone the other day! Okay, this is my favourite moment. We were improvising what would happen when we stepped off the train into this place (the whole sort of community arrives on a train and spills out into this place). And Matthew was getting the company to improvise cows, a herd of cows. So a group of us were doing it and one of the actresses, Anya [Chalotra], was absoultely brilliant at being a cow. I think she is a cow in the show now! And she wandered off and just kept drifting and drifting, and someone's job was to like herd the cows. And she got so far because the person didn't catch up with her, she just pressed the exit button out of the door as a cow! And it was just my favourite moment, she just truly followed it through until she was out the door!
JD: It was funny at the time!
RK: Well, hopefully that is in the show and we just find someone walking round the yard three hours later going, 'Anya, are you okay?'
JD: Exactly! On the river, on a boat, as a cow!
RK: Great. Well we will catch up in a few weeks, once we've got the show on its feet or just before as we enter Tech Week. So thank you for joining us today, Jo. And we will catch up soon!
JD: No worries! Thanks.