Shakespeare's Globe

RSS Production Notes 1

Now that The Merchant of Venice has gone into performance the company go into rehearsal for the next play in the season The Honest Whore by Thomas Dekker.

Transcript of Podcast

Now that The Merchant of Venice has gone into performance the company go into rehearsal for the next play in the season The Honest Whore by Thomas Dekker (with Thomas Middleton). Marcello will play Candido, this is quite a large role and Marcello faces intensive weeks of rehearsal and performance. At present if Marcello has a matinee he rehearses from 9.00am-12.00 then performs in the afternoon. If he has an evening performance there will be a longer rehearsal period during the day. The play will be in modern dress and is set in Milan near Marcello's home town in Italy.

Candido is a very patient character who does not react to provocation. He is totally different from Launcelot Gobbo who wants social advancement and tries to grab any chance he gets to improve his circumstances. Candido is master of his household whereas Launcelot Gobbo is a servant.

During The Merchant of Venice Marcello announces the interval and remains in the yard in mask throughout. Marcello aims to involve the audience with his character – which for the mask is that of the monkey. Marcello is a skilled practitioner of mask work, yet feels that the mask of the monkey is very challenging. The character is charming, naive, innocent and yet at the same time devilish. Marcello feels that there are elements of the character of the monkey in Launcelot Gobbo.

Increasingly during performance Marcello has become aware of the vulnerability with which Launcelot Gobbo begins the play. When we first see him with Shylock he has very little status in Venetian society and is desperate to find a new master. For Marcello this desire for status is the driving force behind all of Launcelot Gobbo's thoughts and actions. When he gets a job with Bassanio Launcelot's ambitions are fulfilled as he has moved to a position where he is respected and comfortable.

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 frequently change as the rehearsal process progresses.

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