Shakespeare's Globe

RSS Production Notes 3

At this point, just over half way through the run of the play, The Merchant of Venice was given a 3 week break from performance.

Transcript of Podcast

At this point, just over half way through the run of the play, The Merchant of Venice was given a 3 week break from performance. This was to give the actors in the White Company the opportunity to rehearse full time for their second play of the season, The Honest Whore and to open the production with a week of performances, before the play went into repertory with The Merchant of Venice. Marcello plays Candido in The Honest Whore, which is quite a large role, this means that he has been very busy with rehearsal, technical rehearsal and previews.

As the company had not performed The Merchant of Venice for some while they were called to rehearsal before the show for a line run of the play (for which the actors just say their lines, without movement). This helped all of the actors to think about their characters and the words and rhythm of the play.

Marcello found the first performance after the break quite difficult as he found it easy to forget the small details of his performance. During this period the weather was very hot and this proved to be an added pressure for Marcello as his performance is very physical. Marcello now takes a shower after Act 2!

Since beginning to perform The Merchant of Venice again Marcello has discovered lots of new elements to his portrayal of Launcelot. For example now when Shylock insults Launcelot Marcello has found a sense of pride and dignity for the character that he did not previously have in his performance. Marcello is also working to develop a sense of Launcelot's concern in Act 2 Scene 2 as he tries to decide whether he should leave Shylock's service.

Marcello feels that having a break from the play has been a useful learning process as it has enabled him to look at it afresh and from a different perspective. He now feels he has the freedom to imagine new things and to be playful in the role. At this point in the run Marcello finds it useful to discuss the production with the rest of the company, to look at what is working well in performance and to consider possible improvements.

Marcello has found it ‘a joy’ to return to performing The Merchant of Venice, he has particularly grown to appreciate the strength of the play's structure.

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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