Shakespeare's Globe

RSS Rehearsal Notes 5

In his fifth blog post, Liam looks forward to going onto the Globe stage, discusses Macduff's fight with Macbeth, and the challenge of playing Young Macduff.

Transcript of Podcast

The Globe stage

I’m looking forward to getting onto the Globe stage. There's still a lot to do. We’re still working ideas which is great, but I can’t quite picture it in my imagination now. Everything seems so set in the rehearsal room that I find it hard to see how the various pictures we’ve created and the movement sequences we’ve developed will fit in the open air. We got the platform this week, which is exciting. I got on it for the first time this afternoon, playing on it as a swing for the Young Macduff scene. I’d always done it sitting by the pillar, but I decided to go walk about. Tim [Carroll, Master of Play] suggested sitting on it as a swing, so I tried that and I think I might stick with it.

Fight sequence

We’re working on the final fight sequence between Macbeth and I. If we stick with what we’ve got, we’ve ended up with something quite simple and intimate. It's a kind of stylised handshake or grip, which we repeat a few times. It's the equivalent of a blow. We reach for the other's stone, which represents our life source. People who watched it seemed to think it worked well, but I’m a bit worried that we might keep missing each other's hands. We’re standing quite far apart, but hopefully if we practise it, it will be OK. We were able to pour more intensity into it than I thought we could. Actually, given that I always knew it would have to be something stylised, I’m quite happy with it. It's physical and it's intense. I think within the structure that we’ve got, it's about as physical a fight as we could get.

Playing Young Macduff

Today we were also working on the Young Macduff scene and I found myself slightly doing little boy acting. I think that's OK, because I’ve resisted it up until now and I think it was and will always be very subtle. When I was on the swing, I had a laugh to myself and then I tried to get it to go a bit faster. Also, the way that Hilary was playing Lady Macduff today, she was physically petting me quite a lot. I reacted in that typical little boy way, wiping off her kisses. That was really all. It may be that the jacket will make a big difference. When I put it on I might feel that I can’t do any ‘young’ acting because it might be too much. Right now, I just feel completely reliant on other people. I’m just going to have to ask people to watch it closely just before we open and tell me what they think. I don’t think I can really judge it. The only thing I can try to do is keep it simple and not do any heavy-handed little boy stuff. In terms of the lines, I’m just trying to say them simply and I’ve tried to introduce a little bit of laughter. Today I tried laughing when my mother says, ‘your father's dead,’ because he just thinks that's obviously a joke. It's quite helpful because it stops his first line from being heavy-handed.

There's still a lot that isn’t set, which in some places feels OK for now, but in other places, I wish that we’d found something that we all agreed really worked. I suppose it depends upon how secure you feel about any particular moment. For example, the second part of the England scene where I get the news is still different every time. I wish that we had some solution to the scene where Malcolm and I are having a big argument before Ross enters. It's quite a sizeable scene and very important. Then again, I keep thinking that going out on to the Globe stage is just going to be so freaky that maybe any magic blocking would just fall apart. I guess it's OK, because we still have next week on stage to sort it out.

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 change frequently as the rehearsal process progresses.

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