Shakespeare's Globe

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In his third blog post, Paul discusses performing on the Globe stage and Edgar's character of Poor Tom.

Transcript of Podcast

The Globe stage

We have begun performing previews of the play. It is only once you get on the stage that you realise the different spatial relations. In this space it does not work if you stand close together. I have been experimenting with the space: standing in the corners, going along the back and generally finding places that will give the entire audience a good view of what is happening on stage.

I am still learning about how to play the Globe space. It was a surprise on the first night, because the audience seemed so close. I found that the audience can be quite seductive, and you have to be careful not to play to them in order to get laughs. Sometimes I want to stick my tongue out for comic effect! I feel very comfortable acting on the stage because I have wanted to do it for such a long time.

I think that the play has really developed. As you work through the play more and more, the story and the meaning start to become clearer.

Poor Tom and Edgar

The main thing that I am thinking about is the way in which Edgar puts on and takes off the character of Poor Tom. It seems that sometimes he is in control of Tom and sometimes he is not - Edgar really seems to be on the ‘edge’ at points. I have decided to play him so that Poor Tom just comes ‘flying’ out of Edgar. I made this decision because I do not think that you can choose to be like this unless you have some kind of vision to follow. I think that madness is in Edgar.

I am experimenting with vocals. I am trying to change the way that I use my voice, which I think will be a hard process to go through. I have also been thinking about developing motivations and triggers to keep myself running while I am performing. An example of this is one day developing Edgar's journey towards suicide, and then the next day concentrating on his fight against suicide. I have thought about what his mother was like and, in a sense, I use the yard as a mother figure.

When Edgar is playing Poor Tom his mask drops at times. I do not think he can control this. After the ‘cliff’ scene with Gloucester when Edgar is pretending to help him commit suicide, I think there is a moment when he is about to reveal his true identity to his father. He takes off the noose that he has been wearing around his neck when playing Poor Tom, but then Lear comes on and the struggle starts again. He puts the noose back on when his father starts asking him who he is.

I have begun investigating and experimenting again this week. Last week, during the technical rehearsals, I found that the play almost disappeared because we were all concentrating on things like music and costume.

These comments are the actor's thoughts or ideas about the part as s/he goes through the rehearsal process – they are simply his/her own interpretations and change frequently as the rehearsal process progresses.

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