Shakespeare's Globe

RSS Rehearsal Notes 2

Jules will be playing Luciana, the sister of Adriana, who eventually marries Antipholus of Syracuse. Rehearsals so far have been focused on building an ensemble feel within the company, which is incredibly important when playing comedy.

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Jules will be playing Luciana, the sister of Adriana, who eventually marries Antipholus of Syracuse. Rehearsals so far have been focused on building an ensemble feel within the company, which is incredibly important when playing comedy.

One of the first areas the company focused on was the idea of playing – of being children, relaxing and becoming open to the things around them. Jules found this activity to be a very good starting point for her: she saw she started doing things she hadn’t done since she was very young.

The company’s production of the play will be set in Ephesus in Turkey. The aim, however, is not to recreate an exact version of Ephesus as it is today or was in Shakespeare’s time, but to create an imaginary or ‘fantasy’ version of Ephesus that is unique to the Globe production of The Comedy of Errors. During the first week of rehearsal Kathryn Hunter, the director, gave the company a picture and asked them to recreate that picture by depicting the people in it, using random props and costumes from a box. Jules and Yolanda (the actress playing Adriana) worked together to portray two women from the picture. The actors worked to create the atmosphere of a marketplace, improvising as the characters they had created. It was a very intense exercise, but it really helped Jules to understand what it was like to be such an outspoken woman in a society that does not view women as equal to men. This is important to Jules as she feels it is an issue which Luciana faces in The Comedy of Errors. In this activity, Jules and Adriana were naturally drawn together, just as their characters are in the play - they tend to be the only women in most scenes and are set apart from the other characters because of that. Jules feels that it would have been very difficult for Luciana to be a strong woman in the time when the play is set.

The company have also played their own version of ‘follow my leader’ and regularly play volleyball together. These type of activities help them to get to know one another and to work together as a team. The actors also worked on an activity where they had to move their bodies as if they were a flame, when the director said the flame should grow the company had to try to show this in their movements. The idea behind this activity was that these movements mirrored the action of the play: there is so much chaos within the characters themselves that is almost like a growing flame. Jules found it a useful way to explore the confusion of the play.

Jules read The Comedy of Errors before her audition, for which she was asked to read Luciana’s speech in Act 2 Scene 1. After getting the part, Jules went into a workshop that she teaches every weekend and asked the people in the workshop for some ideas on building the character. Jules had no preconceptions about the play because she had never seen it performed. She came into the rehearsal process looking for explanations for why Luciana holds the opinions she does. At the moment Jules sees Luciana as an unmarried young woman who lives with her sister and brother in law. She may be a very quiet person who doesn’t like to get too involved in the relationship between Antipholus of Ephesus and Adriana. She spends a lot of time thinking and does not have much freedom to choose where and with whom she spends her time. Jules, for now, thinks that Luciana’s speech on subservience stems from her inexperience on the subject of marriage.

Jules feels that Luciana is incredibly brave, because of the way she is willing to confront the person she believes to be Antipholus of Ephesus about his behaviour. By confronting a man, she is going against every convention of the time period (the play is being set around 1594 - the time that The Comedy of Errors was first performed). For Jules this scene demonstrates that Luciana is not as submissive as she preaches women should be.

Jules enjoys researching a role and always does as much research as she can. For her, it’s almost like building a safety net and a way of feeling prepared. Because Jules is slightly dyslexic, she finds it very important to work in pictures; to visualise things in order to make them real to her. Jules finds Kathryn Hunter’s directing method incredibly helpful, because she is given lots of opportunities to open up her imagination and get a feel for the colours and shapes in the play. For rehearsals, Jules wears a dress if her character wears a dress and she also wears the same type of shoes as her character. She finds that this really stimulates her imagination and helps her to discover different ways of moving and reacting to her environment.

Jules’ biggest discovery this week has been the nature of working at the Globe. The white company spent a week and a half of their rehearsal time in workshops for Augustine’s Oak, which is a new play, written especially for the Globe. In this workshop period, Jules worked to develop her character in Augustine’s Oak. She will be playing the Prophetess, who is very connected to the earth and the sky: she gets her messages through nature. After that week and a half of workshops, Jules is very excited about exploring this character some more, especially in the Globe theatre itself. As the theatre is open to the elements she will be able to use the space to develop the way in which her character relates to nature.

Jules thinks the biggest challenge she has faced so far has been to remain open to all the ideas that are being presented to her. Her goal is to get beyond ego, research and paranoia and to simply play each moment. At this point in time, Jules reminds herself not to make any definitive decisions yet: there is still time to play.

 

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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