It's the first week of rehearsals and Dana reflects on her previous tour of the play and how this experience will inform her performance for this year's tour.
Time: 3 minutes, 27 seconds
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Transcript of Podcast
Can you summarise The Comedy of Errors in 30 seconds?
It’s a play of mistaken identity. There are two sets of twins. There’s a lot of hilarity. It’s about finding the other half of yourself and becoming complete, whether that’s in a matrimonial sense or in a personal fulfilment sense.
What is it like returning to this production after 2 years?
It’s really exciting because you never really feel like you get as far as you want to get with a role and you very rarely get a chance to have another go at it with the benefit of hindsight and time. And it’s nice because there are some familiar faces and also some new faces and that freshness means you don’t know where you’re going to go with it. It’s not just coming back and redoing, it’s rehearing and relearning; reinventing. On the one hand we’re sort of doing it again but on the other hand it’s nice to be able to do it a new as it were. I feel pleased because obviously the rehearsal period is shorter so it’s nice to have a few memories and a little bit of experience. I’m not coming to it fresh and I don’t envy the new gang for that.
What do you remember of Luciana in the production 2 years ago?
This idea that she speaks with only the authority that the completely inexperienced have. She’s not lived enough to realise how little she knows, so she’s at that unfortunate stage where she thinks she knows everything and everyone else knows she doesn’t know anything so nobody listens to her. That’s something that’s stayed throughout, even though there are obviously going to be changes this time, that’s in the script, it’s there for you, you know, black and white. So I remember that, that’s unquestionable because she just has no experience at all of life. Because it would be really easy to make her quite tyrannical and bossy but it’s an empty bossiness which is less powerful and threatening. The audience want her to have a happy ending as well and not just think “oh, here she is again, talking a load of nonsense.” Yes, it’s holding onto her inexperience, I suppose.
Do you think about a back-story for your character?
Rather than to get knowledge, for me it’s to remove black holes so then you feel less exposed and fraudulent when you’re up there. And also, so everything you do now is informed by something that happened to you at some point. So if nothing has ever happened to you, you’re a bit empty. You know, I’m from Leicester but I don’t walk around all the time acting like I’m from Leicester, but I know I am, so it’s just in me. And that making sure that you know the answers to what’s gone before, it just helps you. Whether it makes any difference from an audience’s point of view in performance who knows, but for me it’s something that I like to do. There’s no real clue to our parenting, what’s happened to us. I mean it looks like the Duke is definitely Adriana’s Ward because he’s arranged the marriage for her, so there’s perhaps the lack of direct parenting; it’s not as clear cut as mum and dad were on a shipwreck, that kind of thing, I grew up without a twin, or anything like that. There are clues in there but the back-story isn’t written for us, it’s up to us to invent and create.
What relationships are important to your character?
The sort of primary relationship is with her sister; that kind of sibling rivalry and fighting for supremacy, or even just to get your voice heard. Adriana is very much the alpha female, if there is such a thing. So that’s the central relationship. And then my relationship with Antipholus of Ephesus and without realising then with the Syracusian Antipholus, but I only think I have a relationship with one of them until the very end. And then with Dromio because he’s probably the only person who I have any status with so it’s my one chance to actually be high status. You know, I don’t think Luciana’s naturally that violent but everyone else is getting to smack each other about and no one listens to me so I can just get a bit of kick the cat syndrome. So those three would be my core relationships in the play.