Shakespeare's Globe

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In this final blog entry Keith Dunphy (Macduff) discusses opening night and previews, audiences at the Globe, and other Shakespearean roles he hopes to play.

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Transcript of Podcast

Ryan Nelson:

Hello I’m Ryan Nelson and these are the Globe Education podcasts for Adopt an Actor. I’m here with Keith Dunphy, who’s playing Macduff in this year’s production. And we’re now at the stage of talking about performance. The play’s been running for a while, and actually you finish a week on Sunday.

Keith Dunphy:

We do.

RN:

So lots to talk about for performance.

KD:

Yes, yes.

RN:

But going right back: how was opening night?

KD:

Opening night was very good, obviously, you know, there is that thing with opening night, there is the nerves, you know, whatever… as we call them, the press, the people with the pens and paper are in. But it went really well, and I think we all held our nerves really well, and it was a very very good strong show, and also the weather was fantastic, it was a really good night. And I think all in all people were quite excited by the show.

RN:

And obviously opening night comes at the end of a series of previews. How important are previews for you as an actor?

KD:

Previews are great, they’re very important, in the sense of that, before the powers-that-be come in to see what they think of it and write about it, it gives us time to let the show grow into what it’s going to be into the space, you get that time, you know, which is great. So you get whatever you get, four or five performances or whatever we got here, sometimes in other theatres it’s slightly longer. So we had the time for Lucy [Bailey] the director to be in every time in every preview and then in the day working bits and improving and working on bits that made sense and better for the production and for the space. So I think that worked quite well for us.

RN:

Yeah. And obviously during that preview period it’s the first time you’re with a sort of full live audience. Obviously the audience is really important in any production, but is the audience different at the Globe in terms of fact that you can see them?

KD:

Yes, I think that the audience are different here, it differs from each performance. If you’ve two in a day, a matinee could be very different to an evening. And what that is, is collectively one audience when they come into the Globe will be… I don’t know, it’s very strange but they could be I suppose, for the want of a better word, a slightly rowdy audience, and that’s great, but they’ll react in funny places and you’ll think “God”, you know! And you’ll have that side of an audience. And then you’ll have an audience that are just, certainly for Macbeth, which is fantastic in the Globe, we had this a couple of nights ago actually, it was a beautiful summer’s night, it was really still, and there wasn’t an absolute peek out of an audience; they were almost like, I mean, coming off I said to one friend of mine in the show “are they there, or are they just like holograms?” But they were absolutely so still, but obviously listening to the play.

RN:

Focussed in the moment…

KD:

Yeah, focussed in the moment, and really came to hear the play. And that is a joy for us in that sense, that sort of an audience is just brilliant, because they’re reacting right to what they’re seeing and they’re following the story. So that’s how I think audiences differ, you know. And then you’ll get sometimes, you know, the school parties and they’re fantastic the children and kids, you know, they’ll be talking to each other and eating crisps and drinking cans of coke and getting bored and looking up at the sky and wanting to leave and coming back in, but you have to deal with all that, and stay in the story. But that’s part of the Globe.

RN:

And has the play changed much throughout previews and opening night?

KD:

I think it’s opened out, and what I mean by “opened out”: the play, I suppose, after a number of performances a cast of actors rest down, and feel they owned the play, and as the directors say, it’s almost letting it go and giving it to the cast. So I think it’s opened out in the sense that everyone is very confident in their parts and really finding the space of the Globe, really feeling it and opening it out into the Globe, which is all the better for this type of play and this place.

RN:

And as I say obviously your last performance is Sunday week, do you have any plans for afterwards?

KD:

Well, you know, actor’s life, up and down, in and out, I had one or two auditions but nothing is come of it yet.

RN:

It’ll be a well deserved rest then.

KD:

Well maybe a well deserved rest, but there’s always that worry, you know, “will I ever work again?” But hopefully I will!

RN:

And this is your second time at the Globe. Would you come back?

KD:

I would, yep, I would.

RN:

Are there any parts you really want to play?

KD:

Oh God, sorry, I could name them out!

RN:

Oh go on, do!

KD:

Oh God, I don’t know, I always wanted to have a go of Iago, I think I’d be a very good Iago. I don’t know, oh God, I could be here all night. Well, I actually, I think I’ve always wanted to have a go at Hamlet, but I think I’m getting too old to play Hamlet, because I’m in my early 30s now, but it’s a part I’ve always wanted to have a go of, if I ever got the chance. But that’s a kind of a “Holy Grail” thing, isn’t it, if you know what I mean.

RN:

You do manage to see a couple of older Hamlets now: David Tennant.

KD:

Yes, David Tennant, I’ve worked with David, yes, older Hamlets, yeah, if a director would back me, as they say. Oh, and there’s another part I’ve always wanted to play, in Measure for Measure, is Angelo. Being an Irishman, I always had a take on his sort of priesty, which I think could work really well actually, that oppressed kind of… I don’t know if people know the play Measure for Measure, but there are parts that I would like to have a go of, yeah. But I’d also like to do a few movies if they came my way!

RN:

Well thank you very much for today and for your time over the last months. It’s been a pleasure.

KD:

Thank you, I’ve really enjoyed it. And thanks for all the nice letters and things I’ve received from people, thank you.

RN:

It’s really appreciated, thank you.

KD:

Thank you.

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