Shakespeare's Globe

RSS Tech

In this interview, Laura Rogers (Lady Macbeth) discusses technical rehearsals, preview performances and what has changed in the production during those two periods.

Audio placeholder

Time: 10 minutes, 8 seconds

Download (9.3MB, mp3 format)
To download, right click on the link and select 'Save link as'.

Transcript of Podcast

Paul Shuter:

Since we last spoke we’ve had the, or you’ve had, the week of tech rehearsals. What’s important about that week?

Laura Rogers:

Well, that’s the week where everything comes together, it’s the first time we work on the stage, so have to get used to the pillars and it’s the first time in costume, so that can be a help or a hindrance, depending on what the costume’s like. And so you start seeing it all coming together with the cues, the entrances and exits, how long you’ve got before you’ve got to be over the other side of the theatre, how long you’ve got if you’ve got to do a quick change. Also it’s the first time using the blood, so that is a very different dynamic.

PS:

There’s a fair amount of that!

LR:

Lots of blood yes! And that makes it far more realistic for us as actors. And then obviously them the cleaning up of the blood backstage. So there’s lots of stuff going on backstage which you haven’t experienced in the rehearsal room at all. So, I mean, the technical rehearsal is when everything comes together.

PS:

It looks technically demanding as a show.

LR:

It is, yeah.

PS:

Those exits, the exits off the stage, I’ll describe it so that people who haven’t seen it will be able to, the exits off the stage going down the steps, partially covered by cloth, probably not very easy to see. Lots of music cues.

LR:

Yes, lots and lots of music cues. I don’t actually exit from the stage down those steps, apart from at the end where I get thrown off, but I can’t really control that! But I don’t think there have been too many problems with that, obviously that’s a timing issue, because people would have to run around the back to get to the doors to be able to make sure they can get through the groundlings and up onto the stage, so you have to allow a lot more time than you expect. Music cues, yes, lots, the musicians are doing fantastically well, because we’ve never, we’ve only had a couple of the songs in the rehearsal rooms, and now there’s music pretty much all the way through.

PS:

And part of the yard is covered by a membrane and there are slots in the membrane through which some of the groundlings stick their heads, so getting through the groundlings, for some people, includes crawling through the yard, doesn’t it?

LR:

Yeah, through their legs. We didn’t know how that membrane would work, and we thought,, “Well I don’t know if people are going to want to volunteer to want to put their heads through that!” But it seems that they love it – they’re itching to get there and then it’s a huge novelty. I don’t know how they feel by the end of the play, whether they feel uncomfortable, but I think that’s really what the director [Lucy Bailey] wanted, really.

PS:

They’re so keen to keep those places, that through the interval they’re just sitting under their slots to make sure that nobody comes and gets them. You’ve got one quick change have you?

LR:

I do have a quick change. It’s into the first banquet, yeah. But you have to just stand back and let the dresser do the work for you, really, because sometimes if you try to help it ends up making it worse, so you just have to remain still and hope that it all comes together. I originally was going to have an even quicker change which they had to cut because when I go in to put the daggers back they want, they had another dress exactly the same which had already been covered in blood, and they tried to change me in that moment, but it was far too quick. So they’ve decided now to just put blood on that dress and they have to wash it each time. So it’s a lot of washing for the poor Wardrobe Department, because I don’t think they’ve done a play with quite as much blood for a long time.

PS:

Probably not since Lucy Bailey’s Titus [Andronicus, performed at the Globe in 2006]. You’ve just done the third preview, and in an hour or so’s time you’re going to do the fourth preview. Is it important the preview?

LR:

Really important, I didn’t enjoy the first preview at all because we only finished the dress rehearsal at about quarter past six and then we went up for the first preview at half 7 because our technical rehearsal had run over so we weren’t able to get the dress rehearsal in the night before. And so really I was just concentrating on what props I needed, where I came on, if I could hear my cues. Because you’re standing behind these thick black curtains, and you have to listen really hard, particularly when there’s people back stage having to get their things together, so it’s quite tough – you really have to listen.

And of course it was the first time really since the rehearsal room where we’d put it all together, and a tech can be very misleading because certain bits can take so long to tech you end up feeling you’ve got far longer in between scenes when in fact it could only be a matter of seconds. So I felt like the first preview, I wasn’t in control of... the curtain as well, I wasn’t able to undo the curtain so it threw me, and if you start off in the wrong place it takes a while to get back into it. So I felt like I was worrying too much about what was happening next rather than just thinking about what I was doing at the time.

PS:

Still too technical?

LR:

Yes, and obviously it’s a dangerous space that stage, we’ve got several trapdoors, all of which have to be locked and if, for example, if somebody forgets or if somebody’s got too much to do and has to be somewhere else then it could be really dangerous to be leaving those open so I think at first you’re sort of a bit careful about where you’re putting your feet rather than just being able to use the space wherever you like.

But then the second preview I just think I thought to myself I’m just going to enjoy it and not think about what’s happening next and just allow every moment to happen and I really really enjoyed myself. And I’ve just enjoyed the last one as well, so hopefully it’s the more you work with an audience there the more you find and… we need, I think, what we need to do now is just let it settle and be quicker with our entrances and our cues and start to overlap things rather than let a scene settle before another scene starts, but that all comes with practice, really.

PS:

Have you changed anything so far?

LR:

Not huge amounts, I don’t think, not from my point of view, obviously the staging changes a little bit from the rehearsal room because the stage is completely different and so you have to be careful not to stand in between the two pillars because that’s very bad for the sight lines and for the acoustics, it’s difficult to hear you if you’re speaking in there, so it’s about keep yourself downstage and knowing where the best positions to be are. So we’re still playing with things, we’re still working in the days and rehearsing scenes and so perhaps by press night things might have changed more. Obviously we weren’t rehearsing today because we had a matinee, but we did tighten things up; I think it’s more about tightening things up rather than making huge changes now.

PS:

Your death is handled differently from lots of other productions of Macbeth. Perhaps could you describe that and then say what the thinking was behind it?

LR:

Yes, actually that is one of the things that we have put in - it was yesterday that we put it in, because Lucy has throughout this production shown ever dead body, which doesn’t normally happen. You see the grooms, you see Banquo’s ghost, you see Duncan being carried on, and the only person you didn’t see was me. And she’d always had a feeling that she wanted to see it, but she didn’t quite know how to fit it in, so she had an idea.

After the sleepwalking scene you, it’s reported to Macbeth that “the queen is dead”, and at that point I am bundled up in a blanket and the witches drag me on and reveal me. And then the pulled me to the side and I’m onstage throughout the rest of the play until Malcolm comes on after Macbeth’s died and at point two of the soldiers move my body again, pick me up and throw me into the groundlings – but luckily there are four men there to catch me! So when she said this to me yesterday – I’m not very good with heights, freefalling, any things like that – it wasn’t a request, it was sort of an order! So I think I didn’t have any choice but luckily I do trust all of the guys and we made sure it was safe.

PS:

It’s tremendously dramatic. It really is a powerful moment.

LR:

It feels great, I mean, what we decided was I probably, the character had probably thrown herself off the battlements, that was her suicide, so I’m quite bloody by the end, as is everybody else! And it’s quite difficult to lie there when you’ve got blood trickling down your face, not to want to scratch your face! I found that today. But no, it’s a really nice moment, and I really enjoy it now, that bit.

PS:

I’m so glad you said you didn’t do it on Friday because I was thinking “I must have missed that on Friday, how on earth could I have been looking at the other side of the stage throughout all of that?” I think that’s all I want to do for now.

LR:

Great!

PS:

That’s lovely, thank you very much.

LR:

Thank you.

Back to top

ADD YOUR THOUGHTS TO THE CONVERSation

We welcome your opinions. This is a public forum. Libellous and abusive comments are not allowed. Please read our Forum Rules.