Shakespeare's Globe

RSS Rehearsal 1

Ewan talks about his character Don Pedro and how he believes him to be a key manipulator in the play, setting up the romances of Hero and Claudio, Beatrice and Benedick. He also talks about the rehearsal process so far and how he is keen to start rehearsing outside on the Globe stage.

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Time: 5 minutes, 28 seconds

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Transcript of Podcast

Hayley Bartley:

What relationships in the play are important to your character?

Ewan Stewart:

Claudio, obviously is very important to me, and Benedick. Leonato is an old friend from a long time ago, we have known each other in the past quite well. Claudio, I think, has become a good companion and brother in arms, same as Benedick. Beatrice becomes important because I am quite taken with her style and her wit. Balthasar, who is my personal aid...

HB:

...And what about Don John?

ES:

Of course, Don John. I am deliberately forgetting my brother. Don John, yes very important, maybe in a negative way.

HB:

I know talking to Matthew [Pidgeon, Don John] he felt very much like he was angry at Claudio because he’s the new favourite. Do you see Claudio as your favourite?

ES:

Yeah, to be honest, because personally I’ve gone through explorations of how it’s a homoerotic thing and I think there is a whiff of that in the play. Where I am at the moment with Don Pedro is that he’s quite manipulative, he sets up these things with Beatrice and Benedick. He sets that up and he sets up Claudio and Hero so he’s very kind of somebody who likes to work behind the scenes. And then I sense maybe operating from a place where, in some ways, manipulating these other people, but not really himself. He has a go to set himself up with Beatrice at one point and that doesn’t really work out, but mostly you see him as passive-aggressive, but emotionally. I think you take these things on board and look at them for a while in rehearsal, then sort of let them go onto a very, very backburner. Because one of the things I noticed from watching Alls Well [That Ends Well] last night, was know who you are and then say the lines. Invention is good, but I think invention that is not there implicitly is a little bit more tricky.

HB:

Well I was going to ask you about back story, do you think of a back story for your character? How about the back story of what’s gone on with Don Pedro and Don John? Do you have an idea of what’s gone on before the play begins?

ES:

I have an idea, but it’s quite impressionist, it’s sketchy. We’ve kind of worked it out together because we have to, a little bit, be in on the same story. So I think that we’ve been on an ongoing war campaign and in my mind Don John has split off from that and gone against his brother. This split off faction, that he’s not happy with his position in life, Don John, and neither with the rise of Claudio. It’s pushed his bastardy into a sort of active level of malevolence and he can’t really help it, that’s the way he’s born. A lot of the writing seems to me: you’re born a bastard and that’s it, that’s your nature. You can fight it to an extent, but that’s just the way you are.

HB:

So just looking at rehearsals and how they’re going so far, have you had much stage time or has it mostly been just in the rehearsal room?

ES:

No we haven’t really had much stage time at all. We had one session, with Glynn [MacDonald, movement work], which was very, very useful and gave a new perspective for me of what it meant to be on that stage.

HB:

I know that in the rehearsal room you have the pillars and things so at least for blocking purposes you...

ES:

We do. I don’t think until you get on there – the stage is so transformative to the material. Of course you can work out a huge degree of it, and we are, but I think it will change, my suspicion is it will change a lot when we get in there.

HB:

Do you know much about the set or your costume?

ES:

Yeah, I’ve been to try on my costume and been measured, which is absolutely beautiful.

HB:

What’s it like?

ES:

It’s kind of big, voluminous black trousers, silk I think, and a jacket that kind of emphasises the area of the stomach which is the power house. It seems to me that they just kind of emphasise that bit a little bit. But it’s beautiful, I’m sure I’ve never worn such a beautiful costume. Usually if you do period things they rummage around in a store and go “Try these on”, check the name tag, “Oh, whose worn these before?” But this has all been beautifully made and made to measure and it’s wonderful. And because we are in Sicily, the idea then is to go into more relaxed robes, again I’ve got beautiful robes, but it’s more relaxed, time off, resting around the estate, very relaxed, it’s beautiful. And the set? Yeah I know the set, I think I can picture it reasonably well. We’ve got a lot of orange groves above us...

HB:

...The audience are very good at being imaginative.

ES:

Of course, I mean that’s part of the joy of it is that you say where you are. Some plays blatantly say where you are, I mean Henry V springs to mind. And if you haven’t been to this theatre before then you want to see it, you don’t want to see it covered up in any way, I don’t think, you want to see that.

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