Shakespeare's Globe

RSS Rehearsal 2

"He's described as 'the deep, revolving, witty Buckingham' - so that's a very good clue to his character." Now 4 weeks into rehearsals, Roger discusses how his initial impressions of Buckingham have changed.

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Time: 5 minutes 39 seconds

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Transcript of Podcast

Hayley Bartley:

So, we’re nearly at the end of the fourth week of rehearsals, so what have you been doing since we last spoke.

Roger Lloyd Pack:

More of the same, really: more exercises with the text, more ways of bringing the text to life and cementing the rhythms of the meter in our heads with exercises like stepping on each meter, every time we say a line we do a move, throwing a tennis ball up on the last stress of the beat of the line and then catching it on the first of the next line. Things like that…throwing a frisbee, again to throw the frisbee on the last beat of the line, all designed, really, to embed the rhythm of the line, which is very useful because nearly always the verse is on the meter. It unlocks the meaning of it and it dictates how to say the line and the meaning is clear almost always. There are exceptions to that but it’s often and he’s probably got a reason, Shakespeare, when he does change the beat so that the emphasis is on the first word rather than the second: da dum da dum da dum da dum da dum, it’d be de dum. So, it gives it a sort of urgency, suddenly changes the rhythm, will give the line an urgency. So, there’s usually reason for when he does change it but pretty well, I’d say, 95-98% if you stick with to the da dum da dum da dum da dum da dum, does show the line and the meaning will become clear. It is, you know, it’s a subtle and transient thing because within that basic da dum… there are lesser and greater stresses, so you don’t have to do each stress the same. So, these are all grades of stressing but these exercises that we’ve been doing have been mainly to get the basic rhythm embedded in us. Now, what I’d like to be doing more of is to be playing the scenes more. I mean doing these lovely exercises, this lovely voice-work but I’d like to get playing the scenes and moving around and finding where I might move on a line or where I stand still on a line or how I’ll shape a scene. So, I’m hoping that next week we might move on a bit. I’m not expecting it to be set, somehow I think that’s not going to happen. I don’t like too specific blocking, as we call it, but some sort of structure, movement and sense of the scene would be helpful and I’m hoping I’ll have some chance to do that next week.

Hayley:

So, have you done any specific text-work for your character, Buckingham, then?

Roger:

Well, yeah. I’ve talked through the text with Tim, the director, and Mark, who’s playing Richard. We’ve gone through our scenes, and sort of extracted the meaning of. And, yes, as we come to the scenes, very specific text-work. And, also, we’re doing text-work with Giles Block who’s with us, directing the company, who will go through the text really to cement, again, where the beats are and what might be a good stress and what might not be and when it’s rather unusual, when it’s off the beat. What I’ve noticed about the character of Buckingham is it’s become apparent to me how Machiavellian - he’s described as “the deep, revolving, witty Buckingham”, so that’s a clue to his character. It’s him who comes up with this plan to persuade the mayor what a religious person Richard III is and therefore he should be king. He’s a very good orator, he’s a very good speaker and he uses words in a very expansive, and colourful way.

Hayley:

So, what about any voice sessions, then? Have you done any work on the voice?

Roger:

Well, only yesterday; his rather short session. We did some work on voice and relaxing the throat and not worrying about where the breath comes from, which was very helpful. I’d be interested to find out what the acoustic is like there; how much you can be heard, how you have to throw the voice. 

Hayley:

I think there are certain spots that are better than others to get the voice across.

Roger:

I’m sure.

Hayley:

What about any sessions on movement or is there any specific for movement?

Roger:

We’ve got this jig to learn, which we did some today which is rather delightful, quite tricky sequence of moves. So, we’re learning the dance, a dance which we perform at the end. Certain moves to do with taking your hat off, because they all had hats and were always bowing all the time, apparently, and how to take your hat off. I think the costume is going to dictate a lot of the movement. It’s very tight-waisted, very feminine. I can’t imagine why they thought they looked good in these costumes! The look’s sort of silly to me.

Hayley:

Well, it definitely wasn’t for comfort, so apparently it did look good!

Roger:

Obviously it did. That was the sort of thing they liked at that time.

Hayley:

Well, my final question for this is interview is: have your initial impressions of Buckingham changed or been confirmed since the beginning, before you started rehearsals?

Roger:

I’ve got a much stronger idea of how I want to play him now, of what sort of man he is. So, he’s much more of a devious figure than I thought he was and I’ve just got more of a sense of his Machiavellian strategies.

Hayley:

Going through the text, I guess?

Roger:

It’s going through the text, absorbing it and letting the lines impact one’s self and thinking about the story, thinking about putting myself in that period, really, because it was so different from ours; they wore swords, there was an element of danger, what the rooms were like that you were in, what the comfort was like, the conditions, how you walked around. The speed with which Richard III was crowned, it’s quite alarming how quickly it’s decided how to come up with this plan to separate - when the King dies, Edward dies, to separate the queen and her brothers and get rid of them, execute them, execute Hastings and anyone who’s in their way, and get the princes in the tower, get them out the way and then create the situation where Richard can be crowned king. It’s all very quick, so I’m just really thinking about what sort of a mind and how quick-thinking Buckingham is.

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