This is Paul's third blog entry in which he discusses movement, voice and how these are helping develop the character of Troilus.
Transcript of Podcast
I can’t believe it is Friday. This week has gone like a bullet! We’ve been up on our feet, working through scene by scene, and we’ve got to Act 2 Scene 3. It has been wonderful for me. I’ve realised I’m a very instinctual actor, not a very cerebral one. I don’t think I’m brilliant at sitting down and talking about things. So getting up on our feet has been wonderful for me – really, really good. It has helped me move ahead.
There is so much movement in the play, we are doing bits and bobs every day – fighting or dancing – so the choreographer is always in with us, but we haven’t had specific movement sessions. Most of the time, the physicality of Troilus is not too far away from my own. He does have a certain royalty to him though, when he is around his father, or Hector and his other brothers, which is a bit different. When he is with Cressida he is a lot gentler, and it feels more similar to the way I move.
We’ve done some voice work this week, but not in terms of how to play the space, but accent work! I’m playing Troilus with an accent which is more or less my normal voice, just one or two vowel sounds which are slightly different. It’s been quite easy for me compared to some other people.
Troilus might sound like me, and look like me, but he is quite different. He is a lot more front foot that I am – I think of myself as quite a laid-back person, with most things that I do and the way I speak. I can be quite general and procrastinate quite a bit, whereas everything he says is for a purpose. As soon as the play starts he is run by his emotions, and he is very on the front foot with everything that he does. He acts first and thinks later.
We still start each day with the circuits, and I come in about half an hour early with my fighting partners to run through our fights. I don’t think a day has gone by when we haven’t had a fight call – from the Prologue where we are just standing around with a sword to actual fight scenes. I’m doing more exercise than the circuits. I’ve heard that my costume means I’m practically naked (unless I’m fighting with armour on) so it’s time for a bit of body sculpting!
I think Matthew [Dunster, director] originally thought progress this week would be quicker – at Act 2 Scene 3 we haven’t got to the interval yet. We are finding so much more detail so it is taking longer than he first thought. For me it has been so good to be off book this week, the sooner the better. I can really start doing some good work – I am a step behind when I’m looking down at the book. I don’t really feel the need to make notes when I’m working off book –I seem to be able to retain the things I discover when I’m working that way – it is a lot more organic. Matthew helps, he keeps taking us back to do something again, and it becomes muscle memory, and it just goes in.
My main discovery about Troilus this week is that he is clever, in the way that he is good with people. In Act 2 Scene 2 he rails at his brothers about why the Trojans should keep Helen, and I wasn’t really getting anywhere with it, then Matthew gave me a great note - that Troilus is clever than that. Now, although he is emotional and immature, he is clever and I’ve been able to see through the lines to how he is manipulating people. In lots of ways he is like Hector, but 15 years younger. This is a decision we have come to – that Hector is 15 years older, and that Paris is much closer to Hector in age than he is to Troilus.
The high point of the week has been getting on my feet, finding out more about Troilus, seeing how scenes work. We are going to string some scenes together this afternoon, so we will see a bit of a through line. The low point was realising we have three quarters of the play left to do! You get caught up because there is so much in these plays. That is why Matthew wanted us to spend so much time sitting down working on the text, but we are still finding new things all the time.
These comments are the actor's thoughts and ideas about the part as s / he goes through the rehearsal process – they are simply his / her own interpretations and frequently change as the rehearsals progress.