"You step out there and you see 1500 people and you feel like a rock star." In her final interview, Jessie talks about her first performance in The Tempest, as well as how audience reactions have effected her performance.
Time: 6 minutes 53 seconds
Download (6.3MB, mp3 format)
To download, right click on the link and select 'Save link as'.
Transcript of Podcast
So how was opening night?
Oh, God, it feels like a long time ago but it was amazing, it was a very, um, it was one of those things that I don’t think I’ll ever forget. You can never kind of expect what happens on that first opening night, and because the audience are so incredible because they feel like they’re kind of the first people in on your secret that you’ve been rehearsing for for the last few weeks and you feel like you’re sharing your secret for the first time. So there’s an incredible kind of adrenaline rush and you step out there and you see 1,500 people and you feel like a rock star and they’re so with you. I mean, I have to say the audience that come to the Globe are absolutely incredible and they so want the story to be something special for them and hopefully it is. But it was an amazing...I’ll never forget it. I can’t quite remember because it feels like time froze for about three hours of my life, and until you take that final kind of bow at the end you realise what you’ve just done. And it made me very excited to kind of be part of something for the next few months.
How was press night?
It was, again, quite an experience. I think what’s so special about this space is that it doesn’t really matter if it’s a critic or an agent or the man who works in a corner shop who comes to see the play. We as a company have strived for, and what the Globe, I think, always strives for is to share Shakespeare’s stories in the most honest, yet interesting, way. And on press night, you hope that people will enjoy it and that it will encourage people to come and see something that you’ve worked really hard for in the last few weeks. But also it felt like the beginning of something that will continue to grow and, when you reach press night, it’s not something that, it’s not an ending point, it’s a beginning point, I feel. Well, so was opening night, but it’s the beginning of it being spoken about and hopefully people’s reaction to it when they come and see it again will be one of joy and excitement. Again, the audience have been so incredible and the fact that their responses have been really lovely and, since press night, and since audiences have started to come, a few times people when I’ve been out on the street have come up to me and said that they’ve really enjoyed the production and that it’s been one of their favourite productions and that they’ve been moved by it and...It’s really kind of, affirming and moving for you to know that the hard work that you’ve put in and what you have tried to achieve over the last few weeks has made a difference in somebody’s life, for them to be able to come up to you and say that it changed something for them and that’s why we do it. Well, that’s why I do it, anyway.
So, audience reactions – have you had any interesting reactions from audience members? Anything you didn’t expect or...something you did?
There’s been a few...I mean it changes all the time because The Globe is so alive and, you know, you either have an airplane or baby cry or a laugh that you never expected or a laugh that you don’t expect. I think probably one of the weirdest moments was the one in Act One, scene two, when Prospero was giving out to Ariel, we had, um, some kind of spirit worshipper in, maybe he wasn’t, but, anyway, Prospero was giving out to Ariel and somebody in the groundlings just shouted out, “Leave the poor spirit alone!” And it was kind of one of those surreal moments when you go, “God, yes I really am in a very live, live space, and Roger [Allam, Prospero] dealt with it amazingly well and just kind of stared him out of it for about five minutes, and I think he realised then that you’re not to cross Prospero. But that’s probably one of the strangest.
So how have The Globe’s distractions affected your performance? I mean, helicopters, birds, babies?
Well, you’re always quite aware that there’s the possibility that you’re going to be, your line is going to be covered by, you know, a massive plane flying over The Globe’s roof, and you can’t, kind of, pretend that they’re not there. I think you can either try and enhance it to help, you know, use it as part of the story or else just get on with the scene. But sometimes it can be really helpful and moving. Very often in Act One, scene two, with my dad and me, when he’s talking about our journey together to the island, and when I was a young baby, sometimes it’s quite an incredible moment when all of a sudden you hear a baby’s cry. That can affect you subconsciously in a way that you didn’t ever expect and it’s really wonderful when moments like that happen, and that’s why I really love working in this space and would give my right arm to work here again, ’cause you just have to be alive to everything around you, to the weather to the audience, to the planes, to your fellow actor, in order to serve the story that people get changed by.
So my very last question is: what is your favourite moment in the play?
Um, I think my favourite moment is the masque scene. I think one of my favourite lines in the play is “We are such stuff as dreams are made of” and Roger does it so incredibly that, every night, I really am moved and my thoughts are provoked all the time by that moment. Because we all have dreams and some are frightening and some are exciting and some you can’t remember. And also it kind of provokes me to think about what is, what reality is and what unreality is, and I’m living a life where half my time I spend pretending that I’m stepping into somebody else’s shoes, yet it can be very real for me and I can fall in love on stage and off stage. But it’s not just as an actor. I think it’s something that all of us can kind of understand about what it is to dream. And be disappointed as well when dreams do and don’t work out for you. And I think Jeremy [Herrin, director] also has done such a beautiful piece of direction in that scene because he’s mixed it with a lightness of touch and yet there’s a real profoundness in what he’s tried to portray in that scene with a father letting go of a daughter, in order for her to fulfil her potential dreams. And also, that moment when the feathers fall down is so, it’s so beautiful and I know every, well, I hope, that everyone who is in that moment, and that’s the audience more than any of us, that it affects them and that they, kind of, find an inner child again and a moment to dream and to be taken away from daily life. And, well, that’s what theatre is, isn’t it? It’s a moment of escapism into a different world for three hours. And sometimes those little moments can travel with you, but I think it’s a really, it’s a really moving moment.