“It is at its best when the moments of horror are juxtaposed with moments of hilarity that come out of the truth of the moment.”
In her final interview Sam discusses her favourite moments in the play, the juxtaposition between moments of hilarity and horror and imagining being in a dark Scottish castle on a sunny afternoon.
Time: 6 minutes 29 seconds
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Transcript of Podcast
So how was opening night?
Well, gosh it was quite a while ago now. Opening night was thrilling really – the first preview is the one that informs most. And suddenly seeing it through an audience’s eyes. And then the press night is more sort of a matter of trying to get through it, and not see it through the people that are in that night. Trying not to see yourself through mums and dads, critics, you know… best friends eyes. And just try and sort of make it feel like a normal night. But it’s not. And you do tend to be more nervy, and everybody is slightly on edge and you sort of feel as though there is somebody sitting on your shoulder monitoring you. But then there have been opening nights where it just sort of flies. And this does tend to be one of those places more than other theatres where you do get a really really warm genuine reaction. And it was certainly wonderful, and you are on quite a high.
And what sort of reactions have you been having from the audience? Have they been reacting in ways you’ve hoped and expected?
It has had more laughter than I ever thought it would when we were rehearsing. I mean we knew that there were laughs in the text, but I just, I don’t know. During rehearsals I didn’t really see them coming so thick and fast. Sometimes you’re out there and it does feel as though we’re in a comedy! And when that is at its best is when those moments of horror are juxtaposed with moments of hilarity that come out of the truth of the moment. And then there are a few moments where they probably are just sort of, gags. Those are the ones I’m not as crazy about. And actually they are getting less and less now I think as well really. It feels as though most of them, hopefully, have come from – have sprung from some sort of truth.
Do you find that it’s just the mood you’re in before directs how much comedy there is…
The audience do really tell us. And you have to… I mean actually it’s not for me, to tell you the truth. Playing Lady Macbeth – there are not very many laughs in it, and I’m quite grateful for that. I certainly didn’t go in to playing this part thinking ‘right I’m going to turn it into a comedy role’. In fact quite the opposite. It’s a really lovely opportunity for me to play something without a laugh at all. But I just mean in the piece in general, and the audience here are up for a good time, an overall evening of entertainment. And that’s unlike anywhere else really, you know we started off with the drumming and it ends with the jig. And I think people leave in a good mood having had the experience of the play but also having had a complete evening of entertainment. Which is great, and you know there are big smiles out there at the end having been through quite a horrific – hopefully, horrific journey along the way.
What is happening to the play as it goes on, is it changing much as you develop your roles and character?
Not hugely. I mean it definitely gets more and more settled all the time, in terms of being specific, you know, sort of that becomes sharper s you settle into performance. But the decisions that were made in rehearsals, we’ve stuck to pretty much. We don’t sort of come into each performance thinking ‘I’m going to go down a completely different tact with my character this evening.’ You know it’s very much that we, the decisions that we made we do stick to. And of course within that there is flexibility – you want it to feel fresh every night, completely fresh like it’s never happened before. But you also don’t want to come on and just play something completely new just for the hell of it just to shake it up. That doesn’t shake it up that just shakes everybody else up I think. I think you just have to feel as though you’ve never had these thoughts before and it’s all new.
And – well you’ve performed here before – do you still enjoy the distractions like seeing the audience and the birds and planes and -
I really do. And I have to say I hardly sort of notice them. They don’t feel like distractions, it doesn’t feel as though you’re battling against it. It feels as though you’re sort of all going on that journey together.
I know Billy [Boyd, Banquo] talked about doing such a dark play but on a bright sunny day, how do you -
It’s strange how well it works. It’s odd that the matinee - some of the matinees have been our favourite shows. And of course we start every show in daylight and, it’s just starting to get a little bit darker now, just creeping in at the end of act 1 which was nice. But we’ve got so used to it being a play that we perform in the light and I think it’s a matter of you have to…you have to use your imagination in every area where you’re watching the show here in this… you know we don’t have lighting, we don’t have sound effects, we don’t have a great backdrop or whatever. So I think that’s just a part of it, we’re all outside together. Let’s all pretend we’re inside a dark castle or on a battleground. And it feels as though they come with us on that very much.
And my final question is, what is your favourite moment in the play?
Ooo. My favourite moment… gosh I’ve got so many that’s so hard. I’ve got so many that are flooding into my mind I’m not sure that I can pick one. Oh gosh. I love the end of act 1. I love –just as the music kicks in, just as I’m leaving! As I’m exiting but I just love the feeling of it. I love coming out and doing our sort of cleansing at the end of the play and everybody is on stage together, and that feels really really lovely. And entering, all at the beginning with the drumming. All the scenes with Joe [Joseph Millson, Macbeth]. There you go I’ve said practically every moment in the play. And of course I love the sleepwalking scene. That’s a highlight certainly. That’s every moment I’m on the stage! And mainly when I’m not! I love listening to Betty as the Porter. I love listening to the Lady Macduff scene. And the whole of the England scene I’m backstage listening to that so you know I mean…there are too many to count.
Great thank you very much.
- David Risley, London
Fantastic production totally love Sam's Lady M especially in the hand wringing scene and the 'out damned spot' moment. But all brilliant and I really like the set as well.