This is Paul's fifth blog post about rehearsals, where he reveals how the play is taking shape as a whole, with music and the jig.
Transcript of Podcast
We’ve just done a whole run, which was the second (we did one yesterday afternoon as well). Yesterday both acts were the same length – about an hour and 18 minutes. Today it would have been slightly shorter, but Matthew [Dunster, director] still wants to take about 10 or 15 minutes off each half.
Run-throughs are important for putting things together in your mind and being able to know what actually follows what.Yesterday I had a better first act than second act in terms of my part, but then today was the other way around because I had a pretty terrible first act and a better second act, which is great! I was dreading today’s run because we got that sprung on us last night, that we’d be doing it again first thing this morning. The energy wasn’t there for me to begin with and I was trying to change stuff that I’d been given notes about from previous runs, but then other things would go wrong!
Surprisingly we haven’t really been given loads of notes (Matthew was quite generous and didn’t tear us apart) but then first runs are always rubbish – lots of things so wrong. But, as I say, the run and the notes were very useful so now I can’t wait to do another one … in a strange sort of way!
So far in the rehearsal room we’ve just had the composer, Olly [Fox] who has been doing little bits of keys and little bits of trumpets for us. But today was the first day we had the band in and it was wonderful to have them there. It makes a massive difference. The acoustics are pretty rubbish in that room – you can’t really get a proper feel for it – but it was great to have to music.
The music is Grecian style with really just one melody throughout, with a few other bits. It’s lovely, but very haunting as well. I think the acting and the music just compliment each other really. All the work that we actors have done and the work that the musicians have done, when you put them together, it is fantastic. The music does help me as an actor. Although sometimes when you hear it the first time, you start speaking in the rhythm of the music, like maybe really slowly! That’s a terrible habit that you have to fight against, so it’s good to be aware of.
We are not doing a traditional jig after this production … we are doing a drumming jig! It is still vibrant and fun, but it is going to be drums, not a dance. Everyone will be joining in, every single one of us, even the younger boys. My drumming is alright, it’s all pretty basic stuff and I’m sure it’ll be good by press night, but it needs some practising, just to keep in time really! The music is good though and its fun as well. The jigs are funny, I’m quite glad we’re not doing a dance, it just wouldn’t really work with our production.
I would say that Hector probably understands Troilus best. He is the person who speaks to me and understands me the most. He is my older brother and I think he sees a lot of himself in me when he was my age. I would say Hector is the person who knows the most about Troilus and sees the most.
Our key scene together is the one where we discuss whether we’re going to give Helen back or not. He presents the argument “Yes” straightaway and then I jump in and say “No”. I have this big speech about why we should not, then he retorts and agrees with me. I think that is a great scene, where you see the two of us sort of understand each other. I change his mind, along with Paris, that we have to keep Helen. Troilus is clever, he knows what to use to make Hector do his bidding. So in fact they know each other vey well.
There is a great deal said about Troilus throughout the play by other characters, which is great for me because it informs the audience and therefore I don’t have to do all that work! It helps them to see a pure, full character and perhaps understand why I behave the way I do. It definitely does help. Sometimes my scenes are scattered and I have to make decisions very quickly. At the moment I’m still struggling with certain scenes, and how to play them, but I guess a lot is revealed in what other people say about me. Ulysses says some wonderful things about me – about how I’m the next Hector, but I’m braver and stronger but a little bit more psychopathic! So it all helps.
I don’t think any of the characters particularly misunderstand me. Maybe Pandarus, who although he generally has eyes for me, he doesn’t really pay much attention to me in lots of ways. He just adores me. And Cressida to begin with doesn’t really know me at all, she only knows of me. I think Troilus is quite intense, this thing in him which is just so pure. He talks a lot about truth and he tells Cressida, “I am as true as truth’s simplicity” (3.2.159). I think that is an odd concept for her to take on, that he is that committed to his cause. I think it takes her by surprise.
Matthew the director seems to think that tech weeks aren’t that arduous here, because there aren’t lights or anything like that, but we have got quite a few technical aspects to our play, so I think it probably will take quite a while.
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.