Shakespeare's Globe

RSS Rehearsal

“For the Citizen and his wife, that is our scene. The whole play is our scene.”
In his second interview Phil discusses the rehearsal process, the language of the play and the important scenes for the Citizen.

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Time: 5 minutes 25 seconds

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Transcript of Podcast

Phil Brooks: Welcome to the Adopt an Actor podcast series. This is the second interview with Phil Daniels who is playing the role of Citizen in The Knight of the Burning Pestle.

So how was the rehearsal period?

Phil Daniels: The rehearsal period was a strange beast on this, because – I don’t know if I said this last time, the majority of the cast were in The Duchess of Malfi who were performing in the evenings, and on Thursdays and Saturdays in matinees. So we could only have them for various amounts of time. Which wasn’t very much. So, a lot of the rehearsals were concentrated on their scenes which left the citizen and his wife quite bereft at times because we have to sort of interject in between the scenes. So a lot of the time rehearsals would stop and we’d be sat there waiting for the next bit. So it was an interesting time, and we never – I mean it was fun, rehearsals, but we never managed to get a run of the play until we did a dress rehearsal. So for us, the citizen and his wife, that is our scene, the whole play is our scene. For everyone else it’s a scene, then you go off and you come back on for another scene. So we felt quite under rehearsed and quite, a bit panicky about the rehearsal period. It wasn’t the director’s fault, it wasn’t anybody’s fault except the way that the Globe had organised it with the Malfi cast. I think it won’t happen again.

PB: Quite a challenge, especially if you have huge chunks…

PD: Yeah I mean we could only have each one for about 4 hours a week, which is very little, in a 4 week period. So when they came in they had to be utilised to the utmost.

PB: You mentioned that for citizen and his wife almost the entire play is a scene for them, are there any specific scenes or moments that are quite important and significant to them?

PD: I mean I suppose for him – character wise I mean not til the end when… I mean at the beginning its quite important because he stops the play, and decides that – unfortunately that Bob Crowe died we’re talking, he becomes a bit of a Bob Crowe. And decides that the play should be about working class people, these plays are all about merchants and that the other classes should have a go. So its quite interesting that he stops the play to get – to want a play about a grocer. And put his apprentice on stage instead of all these other actors. So it’s quite important that. But at the end he does a speech about when he was in a war, which was it was we can’t really work out because, I mean we think it’s a Spanish war, you know he fought the Spanish at some point. That’s quite interesting for him and his character. But usually we’re butting in to keep the story going of Rafe our apprentice, who is being an errant knight, saving people and having his own play inside a play. So we’re encouraging that basically.

PB: And then for you as an actor playing the Citizen, are there moments or scenes that you’re finding quite integral or important?

PD: Um, no. The thing is though, because we’ve got quite a lot of similar stuff, you have to be careful you don’t do the wrong speech at the right – the wrong speech at the wrong time, because you could send the play towards the end before its even got started.

PB: Too much chaos.

PD: There can be too much chaos in it. But it’s fun to do, because we sit in the audience, we get to play with the audience with a bit. I think they enjoy having two members of the cast sat in the audience, and after about, I dunno, 20 minutes of it I think they forget and they just become part of the evening, you know. 

PB: Looking at the text and the language, is it quite –have you noticed about the language of the play?

PD: Well, it’s quite wonderful the language. It’s brilliantly written, but it’s quite complicated language. I mean I’m doing Antony & Cleopatra after this, and Shakespeare’s language is easier. It’s nicer, it’s easier to learn, it’s very dense Beaumont. And it’s quite hard to learn. People have found, all of us have found it difficult getting our heads round it, even though it’s wonderful stuff. So the language is quite difficult. But I think the story, I mean our show doesn’t – Adele Thomas who directed our show, let me put it this way. Adele Thomas who is directing our show has put a lot of layers over the top of the language, she is not as interested in the language as some people would be. Even though she’s wonderful. So there’s a lot of layers ontop so if you don’t get some of it, you’ll get something else out of the show.

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