Roger discusses rehearals so far and how they have been exploring the play through exercies; discovering "how much of the history of England is determined by who is related to who."
Time: 4 minutes 21 seconds
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Transcript of Podcast
So, now you are in rehearsals, you’re nearly two weeks in?
Roger Lloyd Pack:
Yes, a short two weeks, because we’ve had the Jubilee. So, a week and a short week.
And so what have you done so far? Talk us through the beginning to now.
Mainly, its involved going through the play. The director thankfully doesn’t like a sort of conventional sit down read-through, so we went through the play, getting up and reading through each other’s lines, doing a lot of exercises, which is what we’ve been doing for most of the time. We’ve gone through the play, playing different games about how to say the lines, saying other people’s lines, saying “yes” before a line, finding different movements for each line, different ways of speaking to another character and answering back with their name or “yes”. All designed, really, to make the verse live, I think; to find why you choose one way of saying a word rather than another. So, it’s been mainly a lot of exercises. Today, for instance, we did this morning was what our status was in the play; how did that change according to who died. Then there’s an exercise with a lot of chairs in different positions on the stage, so each time you have a line, you move to a different chair. I.e. you’re in a different spatial relationship with the person you’re speaking to, which makes a difference. It’s mainly sort of foraging around the play, digging it out, seeing who’s related to whom. It’s very political and a lot of these people are related. You realise how much the history of England is determined by who is related to who, and on what side of the family, and questions of legitimacy and illegitimacy, and who’s the rightful heir to the throne, and all this politicising so we all understand who is who, and who’s our enemy, and who’s related to who.
So its been a lot more full company?
Yes. Quite a lot of full company. There have been times off when Tim [director] has concentrated on specific scenes. We’re also working through the play in that way but nothing is set. Not setting anything. I’ve got some clothes that I’m not ready to use yet. I think I’ll start next week on getting used to the costume. We’re playing in Elizabethan costume, which is a slightly weird style. It’s quite a feminine style, which I quite like. A sword and a hat, so I want to have these things, these essential things, to help me get used to wearing it, really, because it makes a difference to how you stand and how you move about on the stage.
And, I guess, especially for the female characters. They need to get theirs soon.
Especially for the female characters. They’ll need to be getting theirs soon; getting their frocks on.
So, what relationships in the play are important to Buckingham, do you think?
Well, it’s interesting how few people he does relate to in the play. The most important is Richard. Most of Buckingham’s stuff is with Richard: engineering scenes with Richard, plotting with Richard, setting up scenarios. So, mainly, Richard. Some of the other characters who are part of the council, like the cardinal, Lord Hastings, Catesby quite a lot, who’s a sort of Machiavellian go-between, who does a lot of the business. They’re the main characters that I interact with. I don’t have any contact with any of the women characters. It’s surprising few characters I do actually interact with; it’s nearly always with Richard.
And so, are there any scenes, or is there a particular scene, which you think is significant to the interpretation of Buckingham?
Well, there are two moments, really. One is when he suggests to Richard that he takes on the role of a holy man. He’s seen with a prayer book in his hands, and he has two priests next to him, so that when I bring the lord mayor and the citizens - because that’s what’s interesting to me, is how they determined who would be the king if it wasn’t a straight forward direct line of accession, how important the support of the citizens was. And, the lord mayor, being the leader of the citizens, he’s the one who needs to be persuaded that Richard would be king and Buckingham devises this scenario whereby Richard is seen as a holy man and he gives him advice as to not be too keen to accept the crown, make it very difficult to accept the crown. He devises this whole strategy which I’m going to lose my temper because Richard’s not going to accept the crown. So, he’s a cunning strategist and I think that’s a very key scene for Buckingham. There’s another one, when he discusses with Richard how he’s able to persuade the mayor by setting him up as the rightful heir to the throne.