Shakespeare's Globe

RSS Rehearsal Notes 2

Vincenzo will play both Antipholus of Ephesus and Antipholus of Syracuse. The challenge, as he sees it, is to be able to establish that they are two different people without them seeming either too different or two much alike.

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Vincenzo will play both Antipholus of Ephesus and Antipholus of Syracuse. The challenge, as he sees it, is to be able to establish that they are two different people without them seeming either too different or two much alike. The last thing he wants is for the audience to look at him and see one actor simply changing his costumes. He aims to define different qualities for each Antipholus, but for the two characters to be enough alike for other characters in the play to be able to mistake them for one another. As of now, he is still exploring ways of achieving that.

Vincenzo came into the production remembering the show as being simply very chaotic, extremely confusing, and lots of fun. Having begun rehearsals, he is realising that parts of it are also very dark. Before rehearsals began, Vincenzo chose not to make any decisions about his characters - he prefers to come into rehearsals with an open mind. Kathryn Hunter is also a director who likes to work in this way. Vincenzo finds it more exciting not to prepare as then he does not develop fixed ideas or preconceptions.

At the beginning of a rehearsal period Vincenzo is most concerned with telling the story of the play. It is very important that the story of the play is clear to the audience and the actors, especially when a play is as chaotic as The Comedy of Errors.

Kathryn Hunter has asked the company to work to tell the story of the play using sounds and images. Vincenzo is not interested in speaking the verse ‘beautifully’, for him it is more important that the play is alive –Shakespeare after all wrote the plays to be acted. As an actor Vincenzo tries to be as ‘brave’ as possible – to be prepared to fail – as, he feels, if he can dare to do that he will learn and find the best way to play each Antipholus.

At the moment the company are using improvisation to explore the play. One of the ways they did this was to take the opening scene of the play in which Egeon tells his story and in groups of 3 or 4 improvise that scene in different styles e.g. opera, mime etc.

The company are currently concentrating on developing a strong group dynamic and an understanding of the play as a whole. The play is set in Ephesus, which is in Turkey and the company are working to create their own version of Ephesus. It is important for them not to try to produce an accurate version of Ephesus as it exsits today, but as a company create an imaginary world for their characters to inhabit. This means that Vincenzo has not worked a great deal on his characters yet. This does not worry him as he feels it is important that this comes out of his work with the group and their exploration of the play as a whole. Sometimes during an improvisation Kathryn Hunter will ask one of the actors to improvise as his/her character – for example she might ask Vincenzo to imagine that he is Antipholus walking through the market place.

Vincenzo’s family is originally from Italy and he has found his background to be useful as it helps him to bring a ‘Mediterranean feel’ to the characters. Otherwise he is trying to approach them as neutrally as possible (as opposed to deciding on fixed character traits e.g. a limp, accent etc.) He is concentrating on the story and the text itself. Vincenzo doesn’t like to fix anything early on – he tries not to become too pedantic about an idea or approach.

Vincenzo is very drawn to the innocence and openness of Antipholus of Syracuse, just as he is attracted to the urbane qualities of Antipholus of Ephesus. In his character exploration he is also looking at ways to bring out the darker side of the story. The Comedy of Errors is far from being just a farce: it is also about what that situation would really do to a person. The search for a mother and a brother presents an incredibly serious issue.

Thinking of the long-term rehearsal process, Vincenzo sees his biggest challenge as taking risks with the story and ensuring he does not become lost in the text. One of his most vivid memories of his childhood is of his mother telling him lots of stories of her childhood in southern Italy. Consequently he grew up in a family with a very strong oral tradition – his mother would tell the stories in graphic detail – playing all the parts…men, women, animals etc.!

Sometimes Vincenzo feels that the written word can be a block and that his job as an actor is to bring these words to life…..a play is after all called a ‘play’ because it is a group of people playing at being, in order to tell a story.

 

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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