Shakespeare's Globe

RSS Rehearsal 2

Dana talks about how the rehearsals for this year's Globe tour differ from her last tour, including how the play has progressed and her character relationships have changed.

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Time: 5 minutes, 7 seconds

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Transcript of Podcast

Can you briefly talk through a typical day’s rehearsal?

Often we’ll start with a company warm up and then we’ll either move on to doing some music, or some of the percussion calls or some of the music calls. We tend to try and do something at the beginning of the day that involves everybody and also wakes us all up, so it’s a coordination skill; brain in gear. And then before we start any scenes – so there will be a scene booked in for an hour and a half or something – we’ll all just walk around and do a line run so that everybody has had it once in their head to get you started and then we’ll get up on the stage. And usually Rebecca just lets us play the first time and watches and then we take from that what works and what doesn’t. And then after lunch we might try and put together what we’ve done in the morning, run it, see where the holes are. The last 45 minutes of the day we’ll run what we’ve worked on that afternoon, so it kind of goes through a period of: an hour to learn and work it out, half an hour to run what we’ve just learnt; an hour to learn and work it out, half an hour – that’s the theory but obviously costume fittings happen, bits and bobs happen, music calls take longer than we think, or we forget a load of stuff that we’ve been taught.

How does the rehearsal process differ for this tour compared to the previous you did?

Last time that we came it was an absolutely blank canvas and even though nothing is really set in stone there are a couple of scenes that are set pieces. And the first year we went through the process of trying every conceivable combination, option and way round it. We’ve only got 8 actors playing 19 parts, there are going to be some things that work a certain way better than others. So things like the door scene and the final scene are less stressful because we’re not trying to problem solve or work it out, we’re just relearning or re-teaching it to the new people. The other differences are that obviously there are different people so the scenes have a different energy and, you know, you’re playing with new friends, so you play slightly different games when you’re on stage and everything’s open and up for grabs. And you can spend more time on those scenes because you’re not having to spend 3 days, which is, I think, how long we spent on the door scene, trying to work out how we were going to do it. So I think there was a lot of trial and error, whereas now we’ve got something and it’s not that it can’t be altered or enhanced, but at least we’ve got the framework, whereas before we had to build something. It’s interesting sometimes in the rehearsal room, in those moments you’ll hear someone say, “Oh, well we could try -” And Rebecca can say, really confidently, “We did, we did actually try that and unfortunately when you get to this point it breaks down because of that -” You know, everybody still gets listened to but at least you can speak with some authority on something that’s not going to work, whereas the first year it was just like, “Well how do we know?” So those things are different.

Have you done any specific text work for your character?

My character seems - I’m terrified of saying an absolute and then being proved wrong, but as far as I’m aware everything she says rhymes. She’s very sort of finished and complete so there are lots of clues there. But I think if you are doing Shakespeare, you have to do some text work because there is so much for you in there, if you don’t you’re denying yourself a massive chunk of advice and information from the man who wrote it. I remember the first year, I initially failed to spot these four line thoughts with my scene with Antipholus; the sort of love scene. And once you see it, you can’t believe you missed it, but it’s sort of: four lines and thought, another four lines and thought – and I missed that and if you miss that you miss the sense and then you get yourself into a horrible knot. And that seems very different this time, I think because I came to day one of rehearsals with just that kind of technical knowledge, so I started from there rather than from the more muddy place. I suppose it’s like dating, you’re the same person but whoever you go on a date with you change, or you’re trying to change them, completely in response to who you’re with; every relationship, every major relationship I have in the play is with someone different this time.

Have you done any specific movement work for your character?

We did quite a lot at drama school about different elements and different animals. So, just for my own piece of mind, I try and think about whether the character is a combination of different elements and what kind of animal. Because obviously your posture and the way you handle your props helps. And Rebecca had talked about opposite energies that Luciana and Adriana have, especially in the first scene when they are waiting for lunch. So I’ve kind of gone for a very serene, slow, air quality, I suppose, to counterbalance with Adriana’s agitation in the heat. And she’s got a really fast, fiery temperament and tempo so to be in response to that. It’s like finding your place in the scene, so, where possible, I’ve tried to go for this because it says in the text, Antipholus talks about, “the Grace” and “her fair sister” and “the gentle discourse”, so I’ve tried to use those so that when he says them the audience aren’t thinking, “Well, he’s lying because she’s lumbering round the stage, banging her feet, jumping -” you know, to make it make sense. And it’s sort of quite a nice quality.

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