Shakespeare's Globe

RSS Hedingham Castle, Essex

We had a week off last week, and yesterday was our first day back. We are at Hedingham Castle in Essex. It’s weird being back after a break.

Transcript of Podcast

My good sweet mouse, I commend me heartily to you...

We had a week off last week, and yesterday was our first day back. We are at Hedingham Castle in Essex. It’s weird being back after a break. We did a speed line run yesterday afternoon to get back into it, and then we did the show last night. My voice got very tired, and still is a bit croaky. My voice got particularly tired in the last third of the show – I don’t know whether it’s because I didn’t drink enough water during the day, or whether it was just coming back after a break – but apart from that the show went fine, everybody just swanned back into action.

Hedingham castle, I can’t date it, is the keep of the castle. It looks a little bit like the Tower of London. It is a square keep, and we’re performing below the wall of the keep in a semi-enclosed grass area with trees and things around it, it’s pretty picturesque.

This space is open; it’s a big space, so that probably had some effect on exhausting my voice towards the end of the evening. It’s interesting that the last two shows we had before our break were comparatively easy to play. One was semi-indoors, well, covered, and the other was in an enclosed courtyard, so you didn’t need too much voice.

The weather last night was absolutely perfect – warm, a little bit chilly towards the end of the evening as the sun went in, but dry, which is the main thing. We’ve had slightly better evenings that were a bit milder, but I’m not going to complain when it’s not raining.

The travelling is going fine. We all travelled up to Braintree from Liverpool Street together on Tuesday lunchtime, where we were picked up, and suddenly we were all back living out of our suitcases again. It was nice though, I’ve been looking forward to it, and it’s all just kicked back into motion.

We had a large audience last night – I’d say about four hundred people – and they were pretty receptive. They weren’t quiet and yet they weren’t noisy either, they were somewhere in the middle. A decent audience, I think. The performance seemed to be well received. We met some people in the pub afterwards who had seen the show, and were keen to have a chat, and they were quite complimentary. Audiences always seem to get a shock when they see the camper van, and think ‘what the hell is that?’ But when they see how it is used, and the world that comes out of it, that sort of thrills them, I think, and they are relieved that it’s clever and interesting.

The play is still changing, especially after the break. It was fractionally slower yesterday, because we are just getting into it again. But more interesting than that is the fact that people were discovering very new things, because having had a week not thinking about the play, new things occur to you as you’re playing them, new ideas, it refreshes things, and I thought the play sort of shifted again last night, so it will be interesting to see what happens tonight.

What is always a challenge with my two characters is that, when you play them, because they chop change from scene to scene, the challenge is to find the distinction both vocally and physically between the two, and that is a quick change, acting wise. My intention is standard, but the way in which an audience responds to it varies from venue to venue. Every time I do the play, I try to work even harder to make it clearer, and last night I was trying to find those characters - physically and vocally - again, and my focus was on that, rather than on making the changes as smooth and as fast as they could be. I noticed last night, that having had a break, discovering the characters again was not immediate, and pulling them into focus was something that I had to work for.

I’m excited to do it tonight and tomorrow night here at Hedingham, to see what happens. Then we’re off to Leicestershire.

… And so sweet mouse, farewell, and brook our long journey with patience,

Eliot Shrimpton

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