Shakespeare's Globe

RSS Rehearsal 2

Matthew talks about using accent to diffferentiate between Don John and his other minor role the Sexton. He also reveals Don John's most telling moment in the play; when he is first seen with his men Conrade and Borachio.

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Time: 6 minutes, 22 seconds

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Transcript of Podcast

Hayley Bartley:

So, looking back on the last few weeks, have you done any particular text work?

Matthew Pidgeon:

I have. I did a bit with Giles [Block, Master of Text]. We went through all the Don John stuff. Very interesting, I mean just technically interesting in terms of – and particularly in the scene in the church when Hero is tapped in the church by the men and cast down. Just in terms of the verse and the breaking of the verse and the way it’s punctuated and stuff like that was quite useful. It suggested certain actions by Don John. For example, there are some broken lines there which might suggest that he interrupts his brother when his brother starts talking about the chap that Hero is supposedly having an affair with. You know, that’s the kind of detail Don John doesn’t want to get into because it’s all rubbish. So the way that the verse is broken up might suggest that he would sort of shut him up a bit and then try and transfer the attention onto Hero. So that with Giles was useful...

HB:

...For the kind of detail that you couldn’t really get into in rehearsal, I suppose.

MP:

Yeah, just practically. And that verse session was very useful, but also with the prose as well and just this antithesis thing that goes on. It was good.

HB:

Yeah, and how about any voice or movement sessions?

MP:

Yes, we’ve got a great movement person called Sian [Williams, Choreographer] who we’ve been doing the dancing movement stuff with because there’s going to be some in the show. And she’s great, she kind of takes stuff that we might use ourselves or a kind of physical language that we might be familiar with and just develops that, rather than throwing us some shapes and moves that would be impossible for anyone who wasn’t a dancer. So she’s very good. And, yeah, voice work as well which has been good as well.

HB:

What are you doing with accent? Because I guess the brothers are both Scottish.

MP:

Yes, the brothers are both Scottish so I’m kind of doing it in my own accent really. I come on briefly as the Sexton later on, so I double up, and he - I think I’m toying with a Northern-English sort of Yorkshire accent, we’ll see. I’m kind of travelling the British Isles at the moment a bit with him, but just to get some kind of difference.

HB:

For yourself and for the audience I guess.

MP:

Yeah, you know just to say, “Well this is different”.

HB:

And going back to movement, I guess you’ve been working on the jig?

MP:

Yes.

HB:

How is that going?

MP:

It’s going well but apparently the All’s Well That Ends Well jig is fantastic so we’ve got some way to catch up I imagine.

HB:

Theirs was really good, yeah.

MP:

Yeah, I hear that. I’m pleased theirs was very good but...

HB:

...it’s raised the bar.

MP:

It has raised the bar.

HB:

Maybe you need that.

MP:

Yeah, it’s added a bit pressure. The pressure’s on. As if you don’t have enough trouble just trying to understand and do the play, which is difficult enough, we’ve got to do this jig as well.

HB:

Yes, it’s the battle of the jigs.

MP:

We’re getting jiggy with it!

HB:

Is there any particular scene or moment in the play that you think is significant to the interpretation of your character? So it could be a scene or a particular point where you think that sums up your character basically. Have you found that?

MP:

Yeah, there is the first time you really see him alone with his guys, with Conrade and Borachio, when he is on the line, he says “I am a plain-dealing villain” [I. iii], I can’t hide what I am, I’m not going to hide what I am. I suppose you could play that as being in a sulk or you could take that as an empowered position as well. He has a line about he’s not a “flattering, honest man” [I. iii]. So he is poking fun at the idea of these supposedly honest people all around him who seem but aren’t really true...

HB:

...Fake.

MP:

Yeah they are fake, they are not true. He’s true to himself, he’s a bastard, he’s true to his blood. And I think that’s his, of course, massively revealing character.

HB:

And do you think that your initial impressions of your character have changed or been confirmed since the beginning of the process?

MP:

I think – Jeremy [Herrin, Director] said an interesting thing the other day. We talked about rehearsing and he said, “In a way sometimes it’s about getting back to that first read through because often your first impressions – you haven’t really intellectualised it.”

HB:

I think you thought he was quite, not insignificant, but not a major player and I wonder if you’ve changed your mind.

MP:

Well to me he’s a major player because I’m playing him.

HB:

I think so.

MP:

So to me he is the play, but I have a slightly skewed vision of the play because there’s some romantic thing going on as well apparently, I’m told.

HB:

Really?

MP:

Apparently, I’ve heard. But yeah, no, he is, he is. Without him you don’t get that depth and that darkness. The other characters are tested by his actions and your drama comes out of that. And actually he pushes on the Beatrice-Benedick relationship through his actions. Yes, so he is important. He doesn’t say a lot but he’s very important and he’s talked about as well.

HB:

I think you’re right about how he reveals things about other characters. Like Claudio, you think he’s a nice guy until this happens and then you think actually I’m not that keen on you anymore. How he reacts to things is perhaps not the way you...

MP:

...So he’s absolutely essential to the play actually. I mean he is because the other characters react to - the drama occurs because of this dark cloud, this weight, this heavy thing that’s dragging the joy down a little bit. Yeah, I’m a weight, I’m dragging the joy down, but hopefully he is quite witty as well. I think he seems quite funny in some ways.

HB:

It will be interesting to see how audience react because I know for All’s Well, Bertram, he got a “boo” bless him.

MP:

Did he? Great!

HB:

He played to it obviously with his sword but I thought that was nice. I don’t think they planned for that, they were a bit shocked at that. That’s not quite what they we were going for but that’s just how it was.

MP:

I’d quite like a bit of booing, that would be good.

HB:

Yeah I think – so he got boo. I think you’re going to get one regardless.

MP:

I hope to get a couple of boos and I hope people laugh. I mean, I’ve never played at the Globe, I need to learn that relationship between the Globe stage and the audience. We’re all lit, we’re all in the same light. So, yeah, I don’t know but I think that’s obviously hugely important to the Globe, doing a play at the Globe. It’s not like being in a theatre with a proscenium arch and you’re lit and they’re in the dark and you look at them. I mean you relate to them and it’s very important but you’re not actually looking into their eyes.

HB:

Yeah, and for a character like yours it might be interesting.

MP:

It will be interesting, yeah, because what are you asking them to do? You’re asking them to be on your side, but I mean there’s that Panto tradition.

HB:

It is a little bit.

MP:

It’s the same thing, you’re asking them to be on your side but they are emphatically not. I hope they quite like me as well. I don’t think he’s such a bad - it sounds mad. Is he such a bad guy? Yeah, he is a bad guy, what am I talking about. He is, he’s a villain.

HB:

I look forward then to hearing about performance and seeing what response you get.

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