Shakespeare's Globe

RSS Production Notes

This is Mariah's final blog post. This week she discusses the first performance, the experience of performing on the Globe stage and her intentions for the rest of the run.

Transcript of Podcast

First performance

Five words to describe our first night: nerve wracking, nerve wracking, nerve wracking and nerve wracking, but the last one is amazing! I think it's such an amazing theatre – during the jig at the end, the audience decided that they were enjoying it so much that they were all going to clap along. The whole theatre was clapping along to the jig and cheering, and I’ve never experienced anything like that. It was difficult to hold on to the steps of the jig… I’d been so nervous all the way through, but I suddenly felt in that moment all the nerves left me, because it was so heart-warming. The audience were so generous, and it's just been the most overwhelming experience I’ve ever had, really extraordinary.

On stage

It takes a while to become physically open on stage. It's really tempting to retreat from the audience, and it's quite a difficult thing to let that number of people in. You don’t realise when you’re on the other side of the stage just how frightening it is to offer your character, and to also offer yourself, to an audience.

After the play has finished is quite strange too; I just wanted to go and hug everyone in the audience because I’d been feeling so exposed, and then the people just left and went back home at the end without ever having met me. It's really weird, and that's never been so apparent to me before. I think the Globe magnifies that feeling because it's so huge, and because you’re not performing in a bubble to the darkness. You can see the audience and the expressions on their faces, and you can see when people are laughing and when people are bored; it's such a raw experience.

I realise more and more how much exposure is involved in acting, but that doesn’t keep me from wanting to do it. By the end of the season I’d like to be able to stand out there and be completely welcoming, and win over some of the bored faces! Not that there are many, but I just want everyone to experience the story and I want people to discover the joys of it.

To be continued…

It doesn’t feel like we’ve done that many performances, which is good because we’ve got so many more to do. I really feel that we’ve been trying to work through it and keep it free. Tamara [Harvey, Master of Play] has been giving us notes all the way through, and we’ve tried to keep a progression going. I hope that continues throughout the whole run; I would hate to think it will ever get fixed. Some things have to be fixed, like blocking, but you can’t let it make you rigid inside. I realised in some of the scenes that I wasn’t listening to people as if they were telling me something for the first time, and I think that's one of the most essential things. You shouldn’t have to remind yourself of that as an actor, but suddenly you do just think ‘Oh no, I’m not listening to this person!’ and it can bring you back to life again.

As the run goes on, I want to become more and more alive, rather than more and more rigid. I found the freedom of the rehearsal room very liberating, and I want to feel just as free on stage but within the structure that we’ve now set, so my mission is to feel that I can do and say anything within this structure. That’ll be the biggest change, I think. I want to keep working on the text, as well. There's a long stream of performances, and there are a lot of things I want to discover. I don’t want to get into patterns and habits!

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 frequently change as the rehearsal process progresses.

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