Shakespeare's Globe

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This bulletin was composed with questions sent in by the schools that adopted Melanie Jessop.

Transcript of Podcast

This bulletin was composed with questions sent in by the schools that adopted Melanie Jessop.

How do you manage to bring out your emotions when playing Lady Capulet?

When you’re acting, the most important thing is to completely believe in what's happening. Then the emotions that you need to feel will be there naturally. We’ve just done our 50th performance and we’re very familiar with what happens in each scene so sometimes you have to make sure that you’re really concentrating and listening and it feels fresh.

Do you think that you are like Lady Capulet in any way?

It's always important to find some things you have in common with the character you’re playing. I think Lady Capulet has a good sense of humour (not that we see it much in the play!) and she's quite dry. She's very passionate about the things that matter to her. She's quite unhappy and doesn’t have any freedom and I think she’d be more like me if she had all the freedom to do things that I have.

Would you change the director's instructions vis-à-vis your role in the play?

I worked with the director on my interpretation of the character and we didn’t have any major disagreements. Sometimes you have to fight, though, especially when you feel very strongly that you’re not being steered in the right direction. What is your favourite Shakespeare play and why? King Lear – I think it's about very important things and it's got wonderful characters and is very exciting.

What is the best thing about being in Romeo and Juliet?

The best thing about being in Romeo and Juliet is getting to speak Shakespeare's language. There are always new things to discover so you don’t ever get bored!

Do you get nervous onstage?

I don’t tend to get nervous but sometimes if I have a friend in I get butterflies. Usually there's too much else to think about!

Have you ever dried onstage?

Yes, and it's pretty frightening! I’ve never dried so completely that I couldn’t go on but you do feel a bit sick afterwards! I did a play written for one woman – so it was just me talking for over an hour. Drying in that would have been really horrid because there’d be no-one else to help get me out of it!

How long does it take to get into your costume?

It takes about 45 minutes to get into costume and wig/make-up - but I have a lot of help.

How long have you been an actress?

I’ve been an actress for 20 years.

Do you ever get stage fright? If so, how do you deal with it?

I’ve never had stage fright and I think it would be really awful. All actors are frightened of developing stage fright. It's like an illness – you just can’t get on the stage. I have one friend who doesn’t do theatre any more because he got so scared.

Do you have a favourite character? Have you played this character?

I don’t really have a favourite character. It's always the character I’m playing!

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