Shakespeare's Globe

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“You can play an emotional truth to an actor but have your back to them. It’s counter intuitive to any other theatre, and you can still be entirely emotionally truthful while open to 1500 people.”
In her final interview, Kate discusses the excitement of performing at the Globe, how she deals with audience expectations, and her favourite moment of the play.

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Time: 7 minutes 21 seconds

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Transcript of Podcast

Phil Brooks:

So, how was the opening night at the Globe?

Kate Lamb:

I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that it’s possibly the most amazing night of my life ever. Yeah, I think that’s probably true. There’s nothing, nothing quite like the Globe. I’ve never been anywhere like it. I mean, it’s the biggest audience I’ve performed to, for one, but, there’s something quite unique about that audience and that space. But I think, really, nothing quite comes close to [it]. It was fantastic – it was the most hilarious and exciting and adrenaline-filled and, sort of, uplifting. It was just too many things. I can’t really explain it. It was, um, it was amazing, yeah.


What reactions did you get from the audience? Were they reacting as you expected to certain scenes?


Yeah, I think so. I mean, I think we got far more laughs, you know. We’ve added five minutes onto the running time, sort of reactions at the Globe. They’re just, they’re an audience that are so intelligent and with it and keen and wanting to understand and wanting every scene to succeed and be good, and so the comedy scenes really, really thrived on that and the moments of tension – so alive in that space because you’ve just got so much energy, pinging back and forth between the audience and the actors and the actors. It’s just, yeah, it was amazing. But I think we did, yeah, the play made sense in its entirety that night.


Is the play changing much as it moves around different locations?


I can’t really tell too much because we opened in Portsmouth and then we came to the Globe, so [I] haven’t got enough experience of that to say whether or not it’s going to change dramatically every time, but, I mean, the Globe compared to Portsmouth is, you know, a phenomenal change just in terms of the sheer number of audience and how long they’ll laugh for and there’s a closeness because people are standing in the yard rather than sort of sitting on the floor with picnics. They hold a different energy, so they’re sending you different information and a little look to a groundling can make, sort of, a pocket of 50, 60 people laugh and the people on the other side, the middle tier, have no idea what’s going on. So that’s a real special moment just for them, but you can’t really do that in a small scale picnic arena. It doesn’t quite fizzle in the same way, but you know, not to say that Portsmouth didn’t have its own charm as well. But yeah, it does change, it depends on where they are, how hot it is, whether they’re falling asleep because it’s so hot or because, other reasons…No, it will change, I think , and it’ll change certainly when we go to the international places, but I can’t tell you how, yet, because I don’t know.



How are the distractions at the Globe and touring as well? You know, seeing the audience, birds, helicopters, random things happening. Do they affect or do you try to incorporate those into your performance?


The birds in the Globe have been quite exciting. There were just a couple of times when a white pigeon, which I suppose could be a dove, I don’t know, was swooping around quite a lot and it was just fascinating, it was lovely. It was amazing to see. It didn’t feel wrong, it didn’t feel like “Aw, pigeons interrupting my performance”, it was just sort of like pigeons getting involved, pigeons getting excited. If a pigeon flew into the street in that scene, when these people were playing it out, you’d acknowledge the pigeon, you wouldn’t pretend that the pigeon wasn’t there. The audience don’t pretend it’s not there, you know. I mean they can ignore it as best they can, but I think it’s amazing, the distractions.

It’s not a distraction seeing the audience. I always thought it was when I played fourth wall and the light’s in your face and you can just about make people out, and suddenly you spot your friend or something and you go “Oh God, I’ve spotted them” and it’s distracted me, and I’ve just pulled out of it for a second and it just doesn’t exist here, because you’re supposed to see the audience. It’s all for them and seeing their faces just makes it that much clearer that it’s all for them so you’re intention when playing is partly for the actor who’s on stage with you but it’s mostly just for the people there. If you can see them, then you can’t forget that and it just makes it ten times stronger.


Do you find that your character is developing as you go into performances, or changing in any way?


I think it’s becoming clearer what the audience expects there to be because of what they think they know about the play or what they’ve seen before. So it’s clear what they understand her character to be and that I’m feeling a slight pressure from the audience to, sort of, live up to that and, actually, my Kate isn’t quite as angry and feisty and sort of wantonly violent as perhaps other Kates have been. And I can feel the expectation of that sometimes, that I have to say, “Sorry, I’m not going to, that’s not my focus right now”. So, she’s not changing but I am having to acknowledge what people are expecting or what people are wanting, and sort of to deliver that in the way that makes sense with my interpretation. So that yes, of course she is shrewish and she is aggressive, and she is violent, but it’s provoked, and it comes from a certain, it’s a clear provocation to most of them.


And my final question is: what is your favourite moment in the play?


I don’t know. I mean, I think it’s probably at the very, very, very end of the play, the bit when the play’s finished and there’s no more words and I come out on stage. I don’t want to spoil anything but there’s a moment between myself and the audience and that’s just magical, because we’ve all been through something together and I guess we’re just acknowledging that and sharing it. That space will never, I will never come close to anything like that again. I don’t think anything makes more sense that saying those words on that stage with that audience. It just, it opens you up to everything and it’s amazing that you can…

I was talking to Dominic after the opening show that you can play an emotional truth to an actor on stage with you, but you can have your back to them and you can play it completely out in front to what would essentially be the fourth wall, and it’s counterintuitive to any other theatre or any other sort of character or any other style of performance, but makes perfect sense and you can still be entirely emotionally truthful  whilst being physically open to this whole, you know, 1,500 people which is, of course, bizarre. I don’t understand it, but, I think, part of me does. My brain doesn’t but my body does, I don’t know. But it’s, yeah, it’s a bit of a dream come true. So, all of the play is my favourite bit.


Great, thank you very much.


Thank you.


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Gabrielle Head-Gray, Malaysia

Watched your performance in Singapore tonight and am still dumbfounded by your last piece. Just to let you know that as part of the audience, we were all completely captivated and I've never felt more inspired. more

Thank you so so very much for a such wonderful night!

Terry McGovern, Tring

Really enjoyed your performance last night, we saw you at the Globe recently and now in the grounds at Tring school, the energy you put into both performances was consistent and I can only applaud your acting. more

Thank you and all the cast for a very enjoyable evening and good luck with the tour.

Do not break a leg


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