Shakespeare's Globe

RSS Rehearsal Notes 5

In her fifth blog post, Eve discusses the re-rehearsal process, including re-rehearsal exercises, and the directorial choices made in this production of Macbeth.

Transcript of Podcast

Re-rehearsals

We have just had a week of re-rehearsal. I felt that there wasn’t enough time to address all the things that needed to be addressed. Macbeth is a very extreme production and the choices that we made were very bold, so there are a lot of things that could be addressed. Re-rehearsal is not about starting from scratch, but I felt that there were things that could be done in order to make the story clearer. For instance, I felt it would be much better if Duncan were not on stage whilst he was being killed. It was very difficult, both for the audience and for us, to imagine that we were killing him when he was still in front of us. So we changed that moment and I think now it's much clearer to an audience that he is dead.

We started the re-rehearsal process by each having an individual session with Tim Carroll [Master of Play] where we could explain what we were finding difficult in the production . That was useful, but it took two days to get through everyone, so we didn't have any time to talk as a group. We had to plunge straight into getting on and changing things.

Macbeth

This production of Macbeth is very unconventional. Everything we do in it is about taking a big risk. Tim has taken a big risk by making a very bold directorial statement. The Globe has a very egalitarian environment - everyone has a say. The word ‘director’ isn’t even used – the director is called the ‘Master of Play’, and there's a sense that you’re invited and encouraged as an actor to have your own opinions and really be a part of a collaborative process. The problem with that is when you then decide to do something with a very strong directorial vision. It's fatal to invite the actors to feel as though they’re collaborating because then you enter into the problem of ‘too many cooks spoiling the broth’. Everyone wants to give their own opinion, but this can lead to the initial vision becoming confused.

Re-rehearsal exercises

We spent a lot of time re-rehearsing some of the scenes I have with Macbeth, which was very useful. These were scenes that Jasper [Britton, Macbeth] and I had been allowed to work on by ourselves. We had spent a long time looking at all the different options we had with the scenes, but in the end we never made any definite choices. We just got stuck in a rut, doing the same things over again. It was really helpful to talk to Tim and get an outside perspective on what we were doing. It gave us a chance to re-examine the scene and remind ourselves of the number of choices available.

During the re-rehearsal period we did a very useful exercise where we ran the play through in a rehearsal room without any props, costumes or choreography. We just tried to tell the story. Being in the rehearsal room meant that we could perform in a more natural way because we didn’t have to worry about being heard. It was a very liberating experience. It was wonderful to see how people can use their imaginations when they are allowed to let go. I found it to be a very intense experience.

Now that we’re back on the stage after the re-rehearsal process I feel much better about the production. I feel that the story is much clearer to an audience than it was before. I also think that there is a clearer through-line for Jasper and I. By this I mean that the development in our relationship is clearer.

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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