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RSS Rehearsal

"It’s very hard to see how one apportions love among three people.” In this second interview Joseph Marcell discusses the on-going rehearsals, and how his impressions of the character have changed.

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Time: 5 minutes 21 seconds

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Transcript of Podcast

Rachel Ely:

My name is Rachel Ely and this is the second interview with Joseph Marcell, who is playing the title role in the upcoming Globe production of King Lear.

So, what did you focus on during the first few weeks of rehearsal?

Joseph Marcell:

Mostly, the text and trying to move it. So, it’s been pretty challenging.

RE:

Is there any scene or moment that is particularly significant in the interpretation of your character?

JM:

Well, yes. Really, the most important is the relationship with my daughters and Lear’s expectations of them and how he’s disappointed – I think is a clear way of saying it. From disappointment to anger, more anger, going out into the garden and eating worms and that whole thing. But he’s certainly not sentimental. And it’s not difficult but challenging. It’s very hard to see how one apportions love between three people or among three people. So, it’s pretty good!

RE:

Which relationships in the play are important to your character and why?

JM:

The relationship with the court: Albany and Cornwall. There’s the relationship with Kent, the King of France or the King of Burgundy (the suitors to his youngest daughter, Cordelia). And how that celebration of her betrothal becomes totally... the tables are overturned and the whole thing falls apart. So, yes, for the old king, everything he expected and everything he planned explodes in his face almost.

RE:

Have you done any specific character work, looking at voice or movement?

JM:

Oh, absolutely we have. We’ve worked with Glynn [Macdonald, Globe Associate - Movement] and Giles Block [Globe Associate - Text] and [Ng Choon] Ping [assistant text work]. Yes, we have. I can’t really be specific because it’s a work in progress, so it’s constant.

RE:

Have you done any text work for your character? Have you noticed anything about your character’s language?

JM:

What have I noticed about my character’s language? Lear, himself, is a man who’s always had things done for him. His every whim has been satisfied. And so, in certain instances, it has been very difficult to not add an appealing connotation to the ends of the lines, rather than a direct command. And those have been the things I’ve had to deal with.

RE:

How important is music to your production?

JM:

Oh, it’s absolutely important because, as you know, it’s an 8-man company (or an 8-person company) and the music is played by the actors and they play multiple roles. All the sound effects are made by the actors, as well as playing their roles. Yes, it is absolutely important. And, of course, we do the jig at the end, which we play for ourselves.

RE:

How is the jig going?

JM:

After you’ve just died and you have to stand up and do the jig, it forces you to just play the role.

RE:

Have your initial impressions of your character changed or been confirmed since the start of the process?

JM:

Well, more in the sense that my impressions of other people’s interpretations have been changed.

RE:

What were your initial impressions when you first came across the character?

JM:

When I first came across him, you are led to believe that Lear is a very sad, foolish old man. And one of the things I have discovered (and we are really working on) is the fact that he is a king and he has the life of a nation in his hands. And his abdication is not a whim. It’s a very clear and very smart political move to have an alliance with France; to have Goneril and Regan placed between Cordelia and the King of France as a buffer between them. Yes, my impressions have been changed.

RE:

What have been the highs and lows of the first few weeks of rehearsal?

JM:

The highs, of course, are the challenge of playing such a marvellous role. It’s very difficult to talk about lows because you are (selfishly) building a character’s journey through a period of time. And so, of course, you become kind of self-obsessed. But that’s really not possible because it is an ensemble production with 8 people taking on all the roles. So, really, the highs of it are being able to adjust to what is going on around you, to how an actor puts down an accordion and becomes Edgar. Those kinds of things. And those are all highs. It has been pretty exhilarating, it really has. Bill Buckhurst [the director] does challenge your imagination and allows you to take a sideways look at things and reinterpret your presumptions, which is really nice.

RE:

Great! Thank you.

JM:

My pleasure.

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