Shakespeare's Globe

RSS Venue 1: Santa Barbara

Dana is in Santa Barbara! She talks about her impressions of Santa Barbara, including the spectacular landscape and climate. Dana also dicusses the venue and how sympathetic it is to the play and how vocal and enthusiatic the audience are.

Transcript of Podcast

Dana is in Santa Barbara! She talks about her impressions of Santa Barbara, including the spectacular landscape and climate. Dana also dicusses the venue and how sympathetic it is to the play and how vocal and enthusiatic the audience are. 

What are the venue and the performing space like?

It’s a university, but it’s not a university like you know it in the UK, it’s an enormous campus right by the beach, with a lagoon, and there are more bicycles around the building than you have ever seen. Where we are performing, it’s a modern building but there is also something very traditional about it. The building is a circle but it looks from a distance like it’s got an undulating thatched roof. And then when you get inside it is a big lecture hall which seats about 800 people with the stage at the front and the seating is raked up the back. So it’s quite a long space but the sound travels really well; it’s not like being in a field with no trees to buffer the noise and your voice disappearing. When we were last on tour, 99 percent of the venues were outdoors, with just the odd indoor venue like Neuss in Germany (a replica of the Globe). This venue is very sympathetic to the play; the set looks great in there. There is not much space backstage, it’s very much like a tin of sardines, so there were lots of fun and games on the first night. Our dress rehearsal back at the Globe was luxurious but where we are now there is no room to put the tables outside so they are in the tent, we are in the tent, all the props are in the tent, the door is on the tent – so it’s an exercise in backstage negotiation as well as getting on at the right time and saying all the right bits in the right order.

What is it like doing Shakespeare in that particular venue and for that particular audience?

The audiences are very vocal so when they like something they let you know. I think on the first night we had a great time but obviously we were still getting used to the space and a different kind of audience if you will. So last night we were a bit more settled and we had time – and the way the venue echoes, if there is going to be a big laugh, you have to let it really die otherwise it hangs in the air and you can’t really hear the next line; and some of the story gets lost and you don’t want your audience to get lost by not being clear. But they are really up for it and they get on board really quickly and it is a really nice atmosphere. And the houses have been good, the audience are really responsive and everyone we have spoken to said how much they enjoyed it. And the humour seems to be coming across and the language and locality of the story so that’s what you want.

How are you finding the travelling process so far?

I think it’s taken us a little bit of time to get used to the time difference; I think we are still a bit on UK time. So by midnight every night I am completely exhausted. But when you travel all this way you do get the sunshine, so it’s quite weird knowing that back home it’s November and it is cold and, although it’s also November here, when we’re not rehearsing there is sunshine and it’s warm and you’re not wearing a coat in the day; so it’s quite a treat to have that. And I think we’re all a bit tired but we’re all surviving and it’s sort of best foot forward and on we go. We are really well looked after so that always helps with the travelling and we’ve not had to carry the set across, we’ve just had to get ourselves from A to B. So it’s been an adventure.

Have you had any free time to explore Santa Barbara?

We arrived on Saturday evening and then Sunday was a day off so we all went into the main centre of Santa Barbara. We are in Goleta and where we are staying is like being on a motorway but it’s the most well equipped and serviced motorway ever. It’s not like in the UK where if you were in a hotel on a motorway then there would be nothing for miles around, literally within five minutes walk there is a whole community and you can get everything from your groceries to your toenails painted, a back massage and a chocolate emporium, which I haven’t visited yet but I would like to. So we are there but on our day off we all went into the main town of Santa Barbara which is really quite beautiful and there is an art gallery and a museum and then you are right by the beach. So we all had a wander down and walked to the end of the pier. And wherever you look there are mountains; so far in Santa Barbara you always see the mountains. The landscape is so vast and that’s not something I’m used to being in the UK. So it’s getting used to the sheer size and scale of everything here, both manmade and natural .

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