Shakespeare's Globe

RSS Rehearsal Notes 2

Yolanda will play Adriana, the wife of Antipholus of Ephesus. Yolanda had read The Comedy of Errors before her audition and then reread it after getting the part.

Transcript of Podcast

Yolanda will play Adriana, the wife of Antipholus of Ephesus. Yolanda had read The Comedy of Errors before her audition and then reread it after getting the part. One of the things that really struck her from the beginning was how the idea of mistaken identities was central to the comedy of the play. For the Globe’s production, one actor will be playing both Antipholus of Syracuse and Antipholus of Ephesus. Yolanda has been reading the play with this casting in mind as it will have clear implications for her portrayal of Adriana. She has also been considering how her character will be influenced by the physical environment in which she lives i.e. the imaginary world of Ephesus which is created in the play.

Yolanda is finding the experience of working at the Globe very liberating. At this early stage of rehearsal the company’s emphasis is simply on making discoveries about the play together. Normally, Yolanda finds that there can be a lot of pressure in rehearsal to work with the text immediately – this sometimes makes her feel self-conscious about performing in front of the other actors in the company. At the Globe, however, she feels the process is much more about exploring the play as a company: everyone recognises that all ideas are relevant and because of that, the atmosphere is more relaxed and allows for elaborate discoveries. Yolanda feels that it is very easy to get caught up in and intimidated by the text, to the point where the focus of the performance becomes unbalanced.

Before starting rehearsals for the play, Yolanda took great care not to form any preconceptions about her character. She knew that the company would work on the physical aspect of the play first and then work outwards from there – it is important to Yolanda to remain open to any ideas which may arise in rehearsal. She likes her performance to evolve as a result of the rehearsal process and the ideas she is exposed to during that time. Yolanda’s performance must also develop in conjunction with those of the other actors in the company. The only idea Yolanda does have about Adriana at present is that she is a passionately jealous or possessive person. Yolanda is unsure, as of yet, to what degree she will play out this jealousy in the production – it may be an idea that she discards as the rehearsal process progresses. Besides this initial judgement, Yolanda went into rehearsals knowing no more than just enough information about Adriana to be able to work with the company on the play as a whole.

Yolanda doesn’t like to watch or read about past productions of the play, but does research its historical background. She uses these findings to help her build her own research - seeking out historical facts and using these ideas to build the character in her own imagination. Before the beginning of rehearsal period, Kathryn Hunter, the director, gave each performer an envelope containing relevant information about the play with a note attached saying, essentially, that enclosed was information that she had found, but that the actors could decide whether or not they wanted to read it. Yolanda found this to be very useful as it allowed the actors freedom to choose their approach to the text while ensuring they all shared a common starting point.

Yolanda chose to read the first two pages of this information - which contained material relevant to The Comedy of Errors. She left the rest because it pertained mostly to Augustine’s Oak (which is the second production the white company will be working on this season). Yolanda decided that it was best to set that information aside and look at it when rehearsals began for Augustine’s Oak.

The first week of rehearsal time for the white company consisted of workshops for Augustine’s Oak. The play is the first new play to be written for the Globe and the company worked with the director and playwright to explore the text. As a result of this process the playwright, Peter Oswald, will now redraft certain parts of the play. Yolanda found it strange to make the transition between the workshop period for Augustine’s Oak and the beginning of the rehearsal period for The Comedy of Errors. She had begun to feel immersed in the character she plays in Augustine’s Oak, then had to break from this work to begin rehearsals for The Comedy of Errors.

When starting work on The Comedy of Errors one of the company’s first tasks was to focus on relationships - initially the relationship between twins. They did this by finding a ‘twin’ in the company and then exploring the rehearsal space as twins - holding hands and making joint decisions. Yolanda found this activity useful as she was able to explore the effect of being closely linked, physically and psychologically, to another person. The company also used an exercise which focused on master-servant relationships and explored the comic situations that can come out of such a relationship. The company also focused on developing a strong feeling of ensemble playing and began to explore the patterns and rhythms within the verse. The actors used various exercises - from beating out the rhythms on a tabletop to moving and jumping in order to get the feel of the motion of the text. Yolanda stresses that actors need to work very hard to master the importance of the rhythms and changes in the verse - it is never easy. One activity that helps Yolanda is to read the text and then walk around the rehearsal room to the beat of the verse - physically moving is much more helpful to her than sitting and staring at a piece of text, pencil in hand.

Yolanda is really looking forward to playing Adriana on stage and is very excited about all the discoveries she is starting to make in rehearsal. She is curious to see how far the company can develop the comedy of the play when they perform in the Globe.

 

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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