This is Laura's first blog entry for the 2006 production of Titus Andronicus, where she talks about becoming an actor, preparing for a role, working at the Globe and the first day of rehearsals.
Transcript of Podcast
Becoming an Actor
First I wanted to be a dancer, and gradually I started enjoying the other bits - the smiling and things I did with my face - as much as the dancing. I was in a pantomime when I was 9, in Northampton where I grew up. Then, when I was about 10, I was in a youth theatre production of Bugsy Malone. My sister was in the youth theatre, and she didn’t really want me to join, but they didn’t have enough people, so I joined. When I was about 14 I started having acting lessons with a professional actress, and she was ever so important to me. In some ways I wanted to be like her. That was the moment really. I had planned to go to dance school when I was 16, but I started to think Drama school would be better, so I stayed on at school for another two years because you don’t go to drama school until you are 18.
I have done quite a bit of Shakespeare in the five years since I left drama school, including playing Ophelia and Juliet. I was in a production of The Tempest that only had two actors so I played Miranda and Ariel and Trinculo and others in that all at the same time. I was Marina in Pericles at the Globe last year. Quite a lot of the work that I’ve done has been classical.
Working at the Globe
Working at the Globe last year was special. In other theatres you don’t get wet when it rains! Seriously, having people all around you and being able to see them is a big thing. When I did a play in an ordinary theatre afterwards I felt something was missing with this big dark space. You get so much feedback from the audience, and you can share special moments with them. Of course sometimes you notice the person who is looking really bored, or who is searching through their bag. You always notice the people who faint and you have to decide whether to acknowledge it or just to carry on and leave the stewards doing their job. You have to be quite disciplined. There are really powerful moments when everyone is utterly quiet and still. Last year playing Marina at an evening performance in one of those still moments I said:
O, that the gods
Would set me free from this unhallow'd place,
Though they did change me to the meanest bird
That flies i' the purer air
And just as I’d said it this really big dirty pigeon flew right across the stage. It was special, and shared with everybody, and unique.
The first day of rehearsals
The first day of rehearsals is always really scary like your first day at a new school. There are all these people you don’t know. All these men – though that wasn’t too bad for me! We started with the Meet and Greet which is really good. At the Globe everybody is involved so you meet everybody, all the education people, the catering manager, as well as the rest of the cast. You all introduce yourselves. Dominic spoke to us all about the Globe and the season. Then we got straight into it and did the read through. Everybody is really nervous, but you think you are the only one who is. You are worried that you’ll be poor. Then we went on the Globe stage. That was great. Both for those of us who’ve been here before, and for the people who were there for the first time.
Researching the Part
Before the audition I did a lot of thinking. Then when I got the part I stopped – that was the time for telling my mates I’d got this great job. About two weeks before rehearsals started I read the play again, and found a really useful book with an article about Lavinia. That was really helpful. I underlined lots of ideas. If I can’t think of anything to say in rehearsals I can always pretend I thought of them! On Tuesday we had a great lecture by Dr. Farah Karim-Cooper who works in Globe Education, there was so much information given to us about Rome and their ideas at the time. You can look loads of stuff up on the internet, but I tend to focus on thinking about my character, using my imagination.
These comments are the actor's thoughts or ideas about the part as s/he goes through the rehearsal process – they are simply his/her own interpretations and frequently change as the rehearsal process progresses.