Shakespeare's Globe

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Ewan talks about his favourite moment in the play, the two personalities of Don Pedro, and his appreciation for the jig and the musicians.

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Transcript of Podcast

Hayley Bartley:

So how was the opening night? If you can think back that far.

Ewan Stewart:

It was incredible really, I think, the opening night. I hadn’t really expected anything like it, I was quite taken aback. I just found the reaction was astonishing from the audience, you know, positive energy that they put in. I believe, I’m told, that there is a kind of a thing that local people and people who work here come to that night rather than a press night which is nice. And so yeah, it was very positive, good energy, great fun.

HB:

And how about press night then?

ES:

Press night was good as well. All the performances have been good.

HB:

Do you feel any more pressure or do you just see it as another performance?

ES:

More and more I do, yeah. It’s inevitable I find, I curse myself for it, but I think, you know, that people are there to judge you. What I’ve noticed about playing here is that there’s less judgement on the whole. That’s the feeling I get, I might be wrong, but I think that the audiences come to have a good time; they’re here to do the experience of the Globe, see a play and it’s all there right from the word go. Most shows I’ve done, there has been a feeling of “I’m here for a good time.” And of course you get that in any theatre or any entertainment, there’s that element of “We’re here for a good time”, but also there’s slightly more element, I think, of people going “Okay. Entertain me!” They sit back on it more. Here it seems to be – it’s always a two way thing between audience and performer, but I think here it’s maybe more equal; people watching contribute more.

HB:

Yeah and I guess the audience are constantly moving, constantly doing things, and get maybe used to it. Whereas in a kind of black box theatre, if any slight movement or a mobile goes off, it’s huge; that is like the end of the world or something. So maybe in terms of - for press night as well, you don’t see the little note books going because there’s so much else going on maybe.

ES:

We’ve all done our best and that’s it.

HB:

Yeah, so you spoke a bit about the audience, but how do you find they’re reacting? Are they reacting in the way you expected?

ES:

No, much bigger than what I expected. And Charlie [Edwards] and Emily [Eve Best] are obviously - they are both fantastic, but I hadn’t anticipated how much people would love that whole story and how much they cheer and clap; the extent of the reaction has been surprising.

HB:

And sometimes it’s how much they understand it as well.

ES:

I know. It’s quite a straight forward play I think in terms of understanding. There are a lot more hard ones where you really, you know – well, I don’t think I’m stupid and sometimes whole chunks of what people are saying go over my head with Shakespeare. But with this I think less, I hope.

HB:

Yeah the reaction particularly to Beatrice and Benedick when I was there was huge.

ES:

It was astonishing.

HB:

They loved it.

ES:

And so many times they love – I mean by that, there’d be a huge cheer when they first kiss and then there’d be another huge cheer when they are just getting close to it. They’re a joy, the audience’s here are such good fun because I do think the guys do it well and I think we all do it well. But I do think as well that it’s that willingness to go along with it and enjoy it; up for a good time.

HB:

I definitely saw that. Do you think the play has changed in any way, either from rehearsal to the stage or even throughout the performance so far?

ES:

It’s unnoticeable to anybody but me, but I feel that sometimes I change; quite different performance.

HB:

In what ways?

ES:

Well, I suppose I have two versions really of what I do and one of them is more serious and reserved; more of a reserved person, prince, and more of an outsider and looking in on other people; unable to relate quite so well with other people or with his friends, Claudio and Benedick and Leonato, and just more reserved, more looking in; a watcher rather than a doer. And other times I just played it as somebody more who likes to have fun and play. But in broader terms, I don’t think the show has changed that much. Technically there’s a difference in - going back to what you were saying by the reaction, I could see us all adjusting to the laughs and waiting to speak again or sometimes speaking over a laugh and, you know, having to say it again or whatever, that kind of thing. The shape of it has stayed pretty much as Jeremy left it.

HB:

Do you have a favourite moment, for your character or in the play generally? Maybe your character is not even in that moment.

ES:

He’s not and he’s cut it, and I don’t like to tell or ask him to put it back in just for my amusement. But Dogberry, at one point goes over and touches Verges’ arm and then he notices how muscly and strong his arm is and he kind of just checks out the muscle in his arm. That was my favourite moment but it’s gone.

HB:

Did it make it to performance?

ES:

It was in performance but then I don’t know why he cut it.

HB:

How about for yourself?

ES:

The jig. Far and away the jig is my favourite moment.

HB:

When Don John comes back in, I did not expect that.

ES:

I think Sian is owed a huge debt by the Globe. She does such a brilliant job, she really does. I mean the play goes well but then that dance at the end just puts you into a whole new level, it’s wonderful.

HB:

But I think it also went with the story for your character as well, with the whole - I thought that was really nice.

ES:

It was great. I just love doing that dance at the end, it’s great fun. I think the audience like to watch it. It’s just my favourite bit by a long way.

HB:

Yeah, it really does give a sense of conclusion.

ES:

Yeah, totally, it’s genius.

HB:

I tell you one bit I did also really like, actually, is the bit where you ask Beatrice, ask her out, because I remember that you briefly alluded to that part in previous interviews. Very funny, I didn’t think it would be as funny as it was. I just felt really bad for you to be honest.

ES:

I know, poor Prince.

HB:

I think your part was a lot more humorous than perhaps I expected it to be. 

ES:

Right, you must’ve seen it on a night when I was trying to play.

HB:

So that show you were playing it that way, I think maybe so. I thought it was a really great production. I loved the set, the Moroccan costumes...

ES:

....Yeah, isn’t it? That’s really good, all that’s great and I love all that as well. I love the music.

HB:

Yeah, to have the musicians actually coming onto the stage, to be part of it, was really nice rather than, you know, stuck up on the balcony.

ES:

Fantastic, yeah, and also of course, I think, they do in a lot of productions here, they start the whole evening off really well, playing the music and all that...

HB:

...It really sets the scene.

ES:

And the guys are getting more and more into it and seeing them more relaxed and getting the audience more involved and that’s cool.

HB:

Yeah, no, they definitely did. I have to come and see it again!

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