Shakespeare's Globe

RSS Performances 1

"You can get away with so much more, just breaking that fourth wall and looking at somebody. You can have a little play and a little laugh with one of the groundlings. You do get things back, so that’s the joy of it..."

With performances underway, Josh reflects on Tech Week, bringing the show before audiences, and the joys (and challenges) of the space.

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Time: 4 minutes 44 seconds

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Transcript of Podcast

Rona Kelly: Welcome to the next in our series of interviews, with the lovely cast of Twelfth NightAnd today we are joined by Josh, who is playing Orsino.

Joshua Lacey: Yes.

RK: With a little wry smile on your face! How are you today?

JL: I’m good, I’m good. We’ve got a matinee today. The sun’s not shining yet; it will be, hopefully.

RK: We are going to have just a quick catch up about how Tech[nical rehearsal] Week went and how performances have been going. So, do you want to tell us a bit about how Tech Week was?

JL: I shall. It was very nice. Sometimes techs can be very arduous, very hard, but at the Globe you do three days, maybe four max, of tech. If you’re doing a West End Show, you are talking maybe two or three weeks, four weeks on the new shows. But yes, a nice three days. Emma [Rice] kept it very light, very casual, very fast. The sun was shining, so that was nice; catching some rays in the Yard while we weren’t on. And we got to do an Open Dress [rehearsal] for everyone who works at the Globe, on the Wednesday night, on our third day of tech. And as ropy and as scary as it was, because it was ropy...You came to see it, didn’t you?

RK: Yes.

JL: And it was ropy, it was. And it was lashing it down, wasn’t it?

RK: Very atmospheric!

JL: It was absolutely lashing it down! And so, fair play to all you guys to sit through that. And since then there’s been a lot of improvements, a lot of improvements. During the previews after that, we did a lot of cuts, sped things up a little bit, tweaked the songs, tweaked the text, tweaked everything. You know, that’s what previews are for. As you say, you came to see it on that Open Dress.

RK: I can imagine it’s changed a lot.

JL: I think it was one hour twenty [minutes] or something, one hour twenty-five, the first act. We’ve now got it down to one [hour] sixteen [minutes]. So it just takes, it’s just that kind of thing, you’ve got to keep doing it, keep ploughing it.

RK: Keep driving through.

JL: Yes, keep driving through.

RK: And with Tech Week, I guess that’s your first opportunity (at the end of rehearsals, going into tech), to see the play really in its entirety. To see how it actually plays.

JL: Yes. 

RK: What was your initial impression of seeing it all come together?

JL: Well, we actually ran it quite a good few times in the rehearsal room. But what is interesting is when you do get into that space and run it, is the space itself. How you think you’re going to do something or you see something in the rehearsal room and do something, and you get into that open space, almost you’re surrounded (as you say), and how it changes. And how actually easier it is to play the space. Now you see somebody and you go, 'Okay, so they’re messing around there and they’re doing that, that they didn’t do in the rehearsal room'. They can get away with it here, because they have that around them and they have the audience almost in a 360° angle on them. So that’s the little thing, that’s what’s so beautiful about it. I think that’s when you can start acting more, you can start playing more. There’s only so much you can in a rehearsal room until you get into that space, and you can just really go for it then.

RK: And, of course, you’ve performed at the Globe before.

JL: Yes.

RK: What was it like actually getting to be back in the theatre? Have you experienced the same kind of challenges? Have you experienced the same kind of joys of the space?

JL: Yes, just I think pure joy. I don’t think it’s ever really a challenge. You do get away with so much more, just breaking that fourth wall and looking at somebody. It’s almost quite pantomime, it really is sometimes. You can have a little play and a little laugh with someone, one of the groundlings. You do get things back, so that’s the joy of it. Challenge-wise, it’s just personal challenges of the part, of your own impotence as an actor going, 'Oh, I can't!' That’s the only challenge, really.

RK: Because you mentioned last time that massive line, 'If music be the food of love, play on', and the weight that carries with it, the history it carries with it. But with this, you’ve given it a bit of a nice spin.

JL: Yes. It comes out of the back end of a little dance I do, so I haven’t really got time to think about [it]. I sing the words, actually. That’s the first thing I do, I sing the words in this Tom Waits-esque kind of prelude, where we meet Olivia and myself and Viola in this kind of pre-show that Emma Rice has put in. So I sing those, 'If music be the food of love' first, so that breaks it a little bit. And then when you do say it, it comes of the back of this Scottish highland dance I’m doing. I’m so out of breath I just get the bloody words out! You know, just get 'em out! 

RK: Well, I think those songs are now available online.

JL: They are. Apparently they’re on SoundCloud.

RK: They are on SoundCloud, along with these interviews. So check those out. I must admit, 'If music be the food of love' is so catchy. 

JL: Is it catchy?

RK: That song and the 'Oh mistress mine' are the two which you’ll hear most people singing in the Green Room, 'Oh my God, I’ve got it stuck in my head'.

JL: Especially 'Mistress mine' with that ska beat, so nice with that 'de, de, de'. You’ve got to thank Fluff for that (Ian Ross, our Composer). He’s a good boy, putting Shakespearean words to catchy jigs like that.

RK: It’s so catchy!

Thanks to Mary for the transcription of this interview.

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