This is the fifth rehearsal diary entry from laura, in which she discusses how her impressions of Cressida have changed - for better and for worse.
Transcript of Podcast
Impressions of Cressida
I think Cressida’s journey has definitely changed, I came into it with a very strong sense of fighting her corner, the feminist corner and actually what we’ve discovered is that she is human and that what she is going through is what everyone goes through – temptation. So I understand her more now and I understand why she betrays her man. I think it is awful, but she doesn’t really have a choice. Sometimes you love someone but they’ve gone and then someone else turns up who is quite hot!
I think what is brilliant about this play is that it is not black and white. It is really interesting playing Cressida and admitting to myself that is it ok for her not to be ‘good’ and actually it is more human to present her that way. It would be boring if she was perfect.
The most interesting scene for me is the one when Cressida is with Diomedes (5.2). The way that Matthew [Dunster] has chosen to stage it is that Troilus and Ulysses are on stage at the same time is really important. They come very close to temptation and then they pull away, I think that really helped to be able to see that it’s not simply her cheating on Troilus, it’s a huge deal for her and its heartbreaking. She says, “Ah poor our sex! This fault in us I find” (5.2.107) I think that was the key moment for me and we hit that last week. Matthew is a brilliant director, I think he knew all along which way it was going to go but he let me get there myself.
That was definitely the hardest scene to stage; it bothered all of us for a while. Also, it’s so difficult to learn because there are very quick cues and five people talking at once. So we just worked on it and worked on it, it was definitely the most difficult one, but its brilliant, the more time I spent with both Paul [Stocker, Troilus] and Jay the better it is. I’m getting on well with Paul, so it is quite easy to imagine that he is my nice solid love base and Jay is the other one. They are very handsome boys, I’m a lucky lady! I’ve talked with Jay [Taylor, Diomedes] about whether Diomedes is in love with Cressida and he said, “Yeah, in a way I think he is”. It’s not simply just a sexual relationship, I think he does care about her and he is protecting her, so I love the way Jay is playing him. It would be easy to play him as a rogue, but I love what he is doing.
Relationship with Pandarus
The relationship between Cressida and Pandarus is really fascinating, I think it is bothering Matthew [Kelly, Pandarus]. Particularly today, we did the scene where he is shouting at me saying “Thou must be gone!” (4.2.88) and I’m heartbroken but he is really horrible to me. But Matthew said, “I don’t want to be really horrible to you – I can see your heart is breaking.” It is a very strange relationship; they love spending time together but they don’t necessarily like each other very much. Maybe a lot has gone on in the past? We think that Pandarus is my mother’s brother, whether that affects things or not I don’t know, but I think as my father is gone, he is the only role model I’ve had – although he’s not much of a role model! I’m kind of screwed! I think generally we just have a laugh together. ** It is absolutely brilliant working opposite Matthew. He is so generous and hilarious! It’s great and I do love the fact that he is so tall and I’m so short, we must just look ridiculous together but it adds to it. I’ve really enjoyed working with him.
These comments are the actor's thoughts and ideas about the part as s / he goes through the rehearsal process – they are simply his / her own interpretations and frequently change as the rehearsals progress.