Shakespeare's Globe

RSS Rehearsal

“She can’t see beyond just killing Duncan. What she doesn’t count on is this separation that happens, that Macbeth doesn’t need her as much, and so she’s now lost everything.”
Sam discusses how her relationship with Macbeth is all that matters to Lady Macbeth, how little changes in the language can help unlock a scene, and the episodic nature of the play.

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Time: 6 minutes 15 seconds

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Transcript of Podcast

Phil Brooks:

So what have you been doing in rehearsals so far?

Samantha Spiro:

Well, we’ve just this second finished doing the sleepwalking scene. This week we’ve been off book and sort of getting to the detail of everything. So that was quite an exhausting rehearsal, but thrilling as well, to be able to put the book down and go for it, go mad!

PB:

So what text work have you done for your character so far? Is there anything you’ve noticed about her language?

SS:

Well it’s been absolutely brilliant going from the rehearsal room and then going to have session with Giles [Block, Globe Associate for Text], it takes on a very different atmosphere, just in a small room with Giles and going through it for the little changes in language and little details and little things he picks up on that can completely unlock a scene or unlock a speech or throw a different light on it. But it’s out of the rehearsal room, so it’s karma, and then the work we do together, then you hope it doesn’t all fly out of the window when you take it back into rehearsal.

PB:

So it’s transferring all that thought process?

SS:

Yeah, and not worrying too much when you get back into the rehearsal room. You’ve got to be freed up enough, again, you can’t be too bogged down with it. But you just hope that by osmosis, what you discuss with Giles, you won’t have to think about it, it’ll just happen.    

PB:

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

SS:

Probably her relationship with Macbeth is quite important! Really the whole play for Lady Macbeth is about that relationship, and I think last time we spoke about the relationship she has with the dead baby, and the void that that has left and that that needs to be filled with something, and they both think this would be a great idea, the ambition to be King and Queen will relieve all their problems. She can’t see beyond it just being the killing of Duncan, and then it will all be alright. What she doesn’t count on is this separation that happens after that, that he starts to take on his own person, he doesn’t need her as much, and so she’s now lost everything. And then she starts talking about suicide and she finally loses herself, and once she’s lost him, I feel as those she can’t live anymore. It’s all gone a bit wrong.

PB:

Have you looked at other characters as well, like Banquo, for example?

SS:

Yeah, I mean she’s very much an isolated woman, and I don’t think she’s big on other relationships and friendships. I get the feeling she’s quite a lonely woman. So I don’t think other people come into her sphere very much. I mean, she doesn’t want Banquo to be killed, and she doesn’t want Lady Macduff to be killed, but I don’t think she has affection for these people. They’re just important people – he’s the central thing in her life, and she wants to make him happy, that’s really the pivotal thing for her.        

PB:

What scenes or moments – you’ve mentioned there the sleepwalking scene – what scenes or moments are particularly significant to the interpretation of your character?

SS:

Every scene has so many decisions. It’s incredible how many options are thrown up in this play and how many completely different opposite avenues you could take. So I think every scene throws up those questions . . . God that’s a terrible answer. What scene more than any other? I can’t answer that! I’m exhausted from sleepwalking! 

PB:

I mean, that’s a big scene in itself.

SS:

It is a big scene. They all are, really, they all are.

PB:

Have you saved that one till last, or did you approach that one at the beginning and work around that?

SS:

I think what does feel interesting is that each time we get to a new scene, it feels as though it’s a whole new play in itself.  At the moment we have started putting a few scenes together. We run Act 2 and Act 3 yesterday, and it’s really interesting feeling that journey, because purposefully I feel as those I’ve kept them isolated from each other, because they’re so different. And what happens in between, or what happens at the end of one scene that leads onto the next scene, they’re very very different. And unlike a lot of plays where you’re really constantly having to think about the through line, I feel I’ve avoided doing that purposefully, which is interesting because it’s like they’re a different couple from scene to scene to scene, and then her on her own.

 PB:

It’s very episodic, almost.

SS:

Very episodic, yeah.

PB:

And finally, what would you say the highs and lows of the first few weeks of rehearsals have been?

SS:

The lows . . . the scenes that are really hard to work on are the big scenes, like the banquet, with Banquo’s ghost. It’s really really hard and technical and difficult to really get a flow on it until we’re literally working by numbers: and then you see the ghost here, and then you can’t see him, and then you walk from here to here. So until we sort of get that in it’s really hard to get a flow on it, and that’s frustrating and feels like pulling teeth. I mean there haven’t been any low lows, we haven’t had any big screaming matches, or tantrums, or people walking out . . . yet.  And it’s a heavenly company, everyone’s so lovely and there’s a lot of laughter. I haven’t done many tragedies, but it does feel as though maybe you need to have the light in the room because you’re dealing with such dark things. But we have been having a lovely time. One of the highs was going on stage yesterday with Glynn [Macdonald, Globe Associate for Movement] and the whole company, and she’s incredibly magical and ethereal and awakens you to the magic of The Globe. Even just walking on, you feel it, you sense it.  But we did a few exercises with her. I’m very lucky that I worked there last year – 2 or 3 people have worked on that stage before – but for all of us we could feel that excitement of: we’re doing this play on this stage. And that was quite a moment, quite a high. 

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Comments

Liz, Hampshire

Fascinating to hear how Samantha develops the role of Lady Macbeth. Normally I would just go to see a play and that is that, but this gives a whole new dimension, and the performance will mean so much more to me. I look forward to the next podcast. Thank you!

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