"Simon and I seem to be coming at it from a similar viewpoint...we both agree that they should fall in love with each other at first sight." Now 3 weeks into rehearsals, Sam discusses what she has been working on so far and her characters key relationships in the play.
Time: 5 minutes 33 seconds
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Transcript of Podcast
So can you just walk us through what you’ve been doing in rehearsals so far, so how is it started and how have you got to this point?
Well, we’ve obviously started with a read-through and then in the first week we sat around the table, discussing and deciphering what the play meant, and going through each scene with a glossary to understand the words that we didn’t understand, to find out all the different meanings, because, of course, there’s so much potential in so many of the words and some words obviously don’t have the same meaning anymore as they did. And just really trying to get your head around the word-play as well, because, you know, it can have, sort of, four or five layered meanings to each line, especially when they are really sort of sparring with each other. So that was the first week, we’re sitting round the table and deciphering, and then we got up on our feet, with scripts in hand, and - we didn’t start blocking it in that first week, Toby was very free about just letting us just, sort of, discover it, but on our feet. And, I suppose, we’re still finding the meaning and talking about relationships. And then this week it’s much more about making choices.
Have you done any specific rehearsals, so where you are now, have you done any specific rehearsals for the Globe stage?
As far as the set is concerned, it’s something that I’m aware of very much, you know, from having been here before and, sort of, knowing very much that you’ve got to play that space very differently to playing any other space. So, I think I’ve had that in mind from fairly early on in rehearsals, and yes, the pillars, of course, are the eternal problem or the eternal bonus, I don’t know. You know, I mean they can certainly be used to the advantage; it’d be great to be able to use them. And then the one thing that, of course, we won’t know until we get out there, is how much the audience want to participate. And, I suppose, that’s different night-to-night as well but that’ll be a huge learning curve, I’m sure, once we’re out there. And of course, Toby, the director, hasn’t directed for this space either, so he’s not come with all the experience but, perhaps, baggage as well. You know, we’re all fairly free and, hopefully, we’ll have a long enough Tech that we’ll have a sharp learning curve.
You’ll be fine. So, moving on to the text, a bit more specifically, and your character: which relationships in the play are important to Kate?
I suppose, the three main relationships are: her father, Baptista; her sister, Bianca, before the play starts, and they are very negative relationships for Kate. She feels that her father has no time for her and that he favours Bianca, which he does. Kate feels that Bianca has got everybody wrapped around her little finger and that she’s playing a game. So I think those relationships are clearly important but have let her down, so she’s very much on her own and then, of course, she meets Petruchio and he is sort of similar, he’s a damaged person as well, and he’s very much on his own. And I think they, through the rest of the play, they find a way of being able to communicate and be together and actually find a relationship that is probably deeper and more meaningful than other people in the play are able to fulfil or to reach.
Have you done any work specifically with Simon on your relationship as such?
Simon and I seem to be coming at it from a similar viewpoint which is brilliant. With Shakespeare you could go so many ways, there are so many choices, but luckily - I’m touching wood now as I speak - we seem to agree on a lot of things, certainly as far as how they feel when they first meet, that we think ‘BING’, we both agree that they should fall in love with each other at first sight which is, sort of, just a physical thing. Almost, sometimes, you know, when you feel as though you know somebody, you feel as if you’ve met them before, it touches you deep somewhere in your soul. And we both felt that that’s how they should feel when they first meet. And then it becomes an attraction because they’re able to have this witty banter. And then they both realise that they quite like the physical side of things as well. But, of course, they need to go on this journey, of both being tamed really to a certain extent. And then they arrive at a deeper union towards the end of the play.
Have there been any scenes that have been difficult to unlock for you?
The last scene of the play is traditionally problematic because, in a modern context, the words like ‘obedience’ are very hard for modern audiences’ ears to accept. But when I found out that we were doing the play - that it was going to be set in a traditional context - I was delighted because you think with that backdrop, then you can play a woman who’s fighting against her society but also understands that - I mean, even the words in their marriage ceremony are ‘to serve and obey’. So that’s the world that she lived in but of course, you have to make that acceptable for a modern audience. So that’s the greatest challenge probably at the moment, is finding a way of not making her subservient and obedient but still saying those words. But what I feel at the moment, halfway through rehearsal, is that it’s about her making her man feel good. And she’s so desperately in love with this man as well, that she’s wanting to find a way of playing this patriarchal society, making him feel good, and yet keeping her integrity.