Shakespeare's Globe

RSS Rehearsals 1

In this second interview, Keith Dunphy (Macduff) discusses his key relationships in the play and how they've developed, fills in Macduff's storyline when the character's offstage and talks about developing his character's physicality.

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Time: 4 minutes, 51 seconds

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Transcript of Podcast

Ryan Nelson:

Hello and welcome to the second part of our Adopt an Actor interviews with Keith Dunphy who’s playing Macduff in this year’s productions of Macbeth. Now that we’re in the second week of rehearsals we’re going to start to look at how character is developing in the early scenes of the production. So I’m going ask what key relationships does Macduff have with different characters? How have you worked on that so far?

Keith Dunphy:

The Lennox character and I, the way that we are working is putting Macduff in the start of the play as one of the thanes, the head thanes; him and Lennox are forming a good relationship there. So when they do come in to discover the body of Duncan (as the two guys that come and knock with the Porter and stuff) there is actually history gone on before that that you see.

RN:

Oh, what sort of history is that then, that they’re allies in some way, or…?

KD:

Well, they’re mates, they’re friends. They kill people. In our production so far we show Cawdor being killed on stage. First of all tortured and then killed. Lennox and myself, my friend, we come on to finish him off. But at the moment we’re working on a thing that I choose to stand outside, stand watching it, while Lennox finishes him off.

RN:

So when you get to that scene then where the body is discovered, what sort of elements are coming out in how Macduff positions himself in relation to the other characters? At what point do you think suspicions maybe start to arise?

KD:

There’s a very clear point I think the text tells you the suspicions start for Macduff’s character is, Macbeth says “I do repent me of my fury that I did kill them”, the grooms, and I repeat to say “Wherefore did you so?” (2.3.104-105). Why did you do that? And I think that is a huge moment where he tweaks there’s something not right about that. And obviously the fury of that scene, because everyone’s so ... the best way to put it, their heads, they don’t know where they are, the whole place is in a rumble. But you know, the analogy sticking his head up over the parapet for me, ‘There’s something not right about that’.

RN:

And then obviously you don’t necessarily see Macduff making choices based around that - as an actor do you fill in the missing elements between that scene and when you next see him?

KD:

Yes, yeah, the next time you see him is, as we call it, for the want of a better word, the conspiratorial scene. Yeah, I mean… my way of seeing it is after that, after he’s left that scene of the castle - wherever he was, whatever way you want to see it - his mind is going a million miles an hour. But he’s made one very strong decision, and that is to go home, not to go and see the big man being crowned. Because he needs to get his head together, to make some decision on what he’s going to do.

RN:

Interesting. You mentioned in the previous interview that it’s important to make Shakespeare not sound like Shakespeare, and obviously part of that is the way you speak the words, but I’m also interested in physically how an actor tells the story and whether working with Javier [de Frutos, chroeographer], what sort of use movement’s being put to?

KD:

Yeah, particularly having Javier, he’d sit in on scenes and he has some wonderful physical takes on the scene, as opposed to the language and the bogged-down-ness of that for an actor trying to make sense of this language. I think Shakespeare is very much in the body for any actor, because it’s a very physical language. There’s lots of stuff talked about Shakespeare, about big, intellectual language. It’s actually just words on a page, and it’s actually very physical, you know, to do it really well you’ve got to get it into your body, you know, it’s that kind of language.

RN:

And so are you developing a physicality of you guys all being soldiers…?

KD:

Yeah, I think that comes as rehearsals go on, that kind of comes and the more that you get that into yourself and in your body and, certainly for me, in swords and going to be fighting and all that, yeah, that kind of comes, that physicality which then, when you go back on the whole thing after rehearsal, it really informs how you move and how you do speak I suppose, yeah. They are one, they’re not separate.

RN:

Well hopefully we’ll find out more about the England scene and where Macduff’s character goes ultimately.

KD:

Yeah.

RN:

Thank you very much for today.

KD:

Thank you.

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