Shakespeare's Globe

RSS Rehearsal Notes 4

This week Paul answers students' questions, and discusses the technical rehearsals and two of his current acting concerns.

Transcript of Podcast


First, I will answer some of the questions asked by the students. As to the pay of actors, they are well paid here, above the equity minimum, but other places do not pay quite so nicely! Television work pays well, but you have to make that decision as an actor whether or not you want to participate in that. The answer to the second question is that there will be three witches on stage at the end of the performance. The costumes will be modern, black tie and cocktail dresses.

The last question will take a bit more explaining. The question was “have you achieved your acting goals?” The answer is ‘not yet’. My goals are to do justice to the character, push the story forward, and to entertain. I really won’t know how successful I’ve been in achieving these goals until we receive the reviews. I also need to gage the audience’s reaction and find out what notes I have been given during the rehearsals through the previews. So, at the moment, I will say that I have not achieved all of my goals, but I am getting there.

Technical rehearsals

Right now we are in the technical rehearsal process. For the last couple of days, we have started from the beginning and have tried to remember moves and the mechanics of the scene. There are many intricate moves in this show, which will be stunning if we are accurate. During these rehearsals, music was introduced for the first time. The improvised jazz really sets the mood. For instance, it makes the witches beguiling and seductive, but also slightly disturbing.

The witches are the ones that commit the murders, so they need to have an eerie quality about them. They wear glasses, promoting the weird image of the Blind Fates, as they commit their evil deeds. The murders do not involve blood or graphic violence, but are actually quite intimate and psychological. When we are killing Lady Macbeth, I dance with her and kiss her. I have no weapon to use in order to kill her. We really wanted to free ourselves from having swords, creating a more psychological approach. The play really focuses upon a psychological landscape by examining what is going on in Macbeth’s head. With this psychological approach, we want to elicit feelings from the audience. We do not know what their reaction is going to be, but hopefully if we remain consistent with our style, it will be a favourable one.


I think the biggest trouble I have had is moving from the small, intimate rehearsals onto the enormous Globe stage. You lose a lot of intimacy within the scenes during the process. I just have to remember the musical cues! It is nice to have a technical rehearsal because you usually have time to chat with the directors and the choreographers while the musicians are working. You have time to grab little bits.

Another concern I am facing is with my character of the Porter. With a lot of the lines I really have no idea what to do. I am neutral at the moment. I hope to get ideas from the audience during the performance in order to embellish the character.

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.

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