Shakespeare's Globe

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"The tech for me was much more than a normal tech". Roger talks about the uniqueness of a Globe tech week and how it is a valuable extension of the rehearsal period; a time for negotiating both costume and space.

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Transcript of Podcast

Hayley Bartley:

So, in tech week what happens? I guess it’s a little bit different for your company being Original Practices?

Roger Lloyd Pack:

Yes, a: it’s different for a company being Original Practice and, b: it’s different being on the Globe stage in that, in a normal production – when I say normal I mean not at the Globe, not that the Globe’s not normal but it’s different; I think we all know that, in a wonderful way, but it’s different – and this director, Tim [Carroll], did very little with set. And basically with our set there are three upstage entrances and we never really settled, we only vaguely settled, on which we would come in. I do like to have a, sort of, structure from which I can break free from and there wasn’t any of that so I felt a bit insecure by that. So the tech for me was much more than a normal tech because there’s no set really, there’s no lighting, and these are the things that take up most of the time really. Negotiating a new set. Negotiating our costumes because we were suddenly presented with these beautiful, smart, full-on, expensive, showy costumes, which had to be dealt with, you know, you had to play that, you had to get used to them. That was a big thing of the tech, learning how to play the costume, wear the sword, do the hat, do the bows. So that and negotiating the space; how you work the Globe as an actor, how you use it. You play out much more to the audience than you would normally in a conventional proscenium theatre; it is much more between you and the audience. So the tech was very much about finding that out for me and, I imagine, the other actors who haven’t worked here before. And the other part of your question, Original Practices, I guess the only difference really is this aspect of being seen in dressing which they did in the Tiring Room, which I suppose comes from retiring room. They call it the Tiring Room which is behind the stage where the actors put their clothes on and that used to be in view of the audience apparently. So we come down and we are seen being dressed – incredible these clothes, I mean if you lived in Elizabethan times there is no way a gentleman could have dressed himself. It would have driven me nuts living then, you are completely dependent on people dressing you and undressing you.

Hayley:

It’s not like today where we have zips and things…

Roger:

No. There’s all these ties and cords and it’s tightly fitting, you can’t get it on or off, you need to be tied in and the tights are tied into the hose and the hose is tied into the doublet and it’s all very elaborate; you literally feel stitched up. You couldn’t get out of bed and get back in, I would have found that really stressful.

Hayley:

So do they put the full costume on you whilst you are back stage?

Roger:

Well no. We come downstage in the shirt, which is like a long linen nightshirt and tights, and then we put the costume on backstage which involves tying in the tights and buttoning up – there’s about 30 buttons in my costume – buttoning that up, tying it in, pulling it tight, and putting a cloak on that has to be tied in, a garter, sword – I can’t put that on myself because of the bendiness. You would have to have a servant to put your sword on; you couldn’t put a sword belt on yourself, so it’s quite a business.

Hayley:

Yes. And I suppose you’re fortunate you don’t have to change your costume do you?

Roger:

No, I’m very fortunate in that aspect. All I have to do – and I grumble about this – I have to keep changing the order of the merit that I wear around my chain to show my status; that’s all. But there are some - Johnny [Flynn] has to change from Lady Anne into Lord Grey and then back into Lady Anne, which is quite a number. I have got to change into the Ghost but that’s not much, it’s just a white sheet over me and then a white face make-up put on. I’m quite lucky with that because changing is the most tiring part I find of acting and you can’t do a change without two dressers.

Hayley:

And so, how about the music then? During tech week, that was when you finally got the musicians with you as well.

Roger:

Yes. The only music we heard was the jig music, which we got on a tape, which we do at the end, this jig that we’ve been rehearsing – I think that’s part of the Original Practice as well to have a jig, which is delightful actually, people love the jig and I can see why, there’s something really joyous about it. The musicians, yeah, I hadn’t met any musicians before and not heard any of the music, so that was a great addition to the show. It is a really important ingredient to the show, especially as there is no set. It sort of sets up, it says a lot the music; this is a coronation scene, or this is a battle scene , or this is an important scene, or this is a ghostly scene; it sets the scene.

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