This is Che's second blog entry for the 2007 production of Othello in which he discusses continuing rehearsals and getting used to the Globe space.
Transcript of Podcast
We finally got up on our feet last Thursday and started throwing up a rough blocking shape. Wilson has added stairs to the front of the stage, so we have stairs stage left, stage right and stage centre, and that's marked on the rehearsal room floor with red tape. The pillars are also marked in tape. And, for instance the scene that we just did I was on the second step, which is kind of hard to imagine for us, so the tape helps.
We’ve pushed forward and Wilson is focusing mostly on the big crowd scenes which are quite tricky; lots of stage traffic. And we did the storm scene, which is my big scene, and Wilson has come in today with a completely different idea of how to do it, which is great because it hadn’t been feeling quite right. We did it one way and then moved on into some other stuff and I came off feeling a bit like something wasn’t right, but I couldn’t put my finger on it, and mercifully Wilson has come in today and said the same thing. He said: ‘I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, there was something wrong. I have had another read of it. I want to try it another way, and the way that we just did it was much better.’
So we have mainly blocked the big crowd scenes. I mean I am trying to jump into Wilson's brain, but I think he's trying to get those out of the way before he can really focus on the intimate stuff between Othello, Iago and Desdemona. That will be nice because we will get a bit of a break!
Getting used to the space
We did some more work with Patsy Rodenberg yesterday; on the stage. We have actually been on the stage, it's nice, and it's less daunting than I thought. There's excellent sound in there. Patsy is very keen on us owning the language and owning the stage. We prowled around the stage doing bits of text. She would encourage us to focus one line at a time at a particular seat number, so you’d find E36 and hit them with a line and the F39 with a line. The thing I am struggling with, because I haven’t been on the stage for so long, is I am running out of breath half way through sentences. So I am trying to get fit and remind myself what my technique is. I mean there are excellent acoustics in there but you have still got that enormous hole in the roof and I think once it's packed with people it will deaden the sound. But I am really looking forward to it.
We did a little bit of movement with Glynn Macdonald, just a stretch out on the stage. We did a thing which is apparently from ‘Sufi’ called ‘Earth, Water, Fire, Air’. It's an exercise constructed of four physical positions. So Earth is like a horse riding stance with my arms extended, ‘Water’ is where I go from ‘Earth’ and collapse the spine and let my hands droop down to the floor with a soft neck, then I swoop up into ‘Fire’ and bring my feet together with place my hands above my head with my hands pressed firmly together and ‘Air’ is just very slowly letting your arms down by your side so you are in a normal standing position. You feel really silly when you first do it, but if you commit to it and do it a few times, what I noticed is I felt a lot more open across the chest area. Glynn called it ‘Yoga of the imagination.’ Which is apparently from Sufism, which is related to Islam.
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 frequently change as the rehearsal process progresses.