Shakespeare's Globe

RSS Rehearsal Notes 6

In his sixth blog post, Liam discusses technical rehearsals, receiving his costumes and transferring the play from the rehearsal room to the stage.

Transcript of Podcast

Costumes

It's been really interesting moving from the rehearsal room to the theatre. Usually the tech is really quiet, dark, and private, so doing it outdoors and in front of the tour groups has been really strange, but nice. It's very different. We’re in costume now as well, and it's a bit hot, but it's good to get used to moving in them. We haven’t started experimenting with the costumes yet. I think at some point we’ll play with the idea of removing our bow ties or jackets. The women look great in their frocks.

The costumes are very formal, which means you have less freedom than you have in your own clothes, in terms of sitting, standing, walking, etc. I think it's important not to let that affect you too much. Sometimes you see productions where it seems as though the costumes are giving a performance of their own. I think, within reason, you should try and fight that. Because our dinner jackets are very formal, we should almost go in the opposite direction.

The costumes are very different from those in any other production of Macbeth that I’ve performed. I was in one production where the soldiers brushed up and wore this kind of formal outfit for the banquet scene, so I have been on stage in Macbeth in a dinner suit before, but never with the idea of it as a uniform that you continually wear.

I’ve got my oversized jacket as Macduff now as well, which I love, although it's going to be very warm! It's beautiful. It just looks like a jacket that's been made for someone huge and bought in a shop. I haven’t worn it in front of a mirror yet, or played the scene in it, but I think it will make me feel young when I see myself in it. It is a strange image, wearing something that's far too big for me.

Run-through

On Saturday we did a run-through for Mark [Rylance, Artistic Director]. He was very supportive. I actually thought the run-through before that was better. It was just a bit more together and a bit simpler and clearer. The last one we did was quite playful. We were trying lots of things and that's good, but I just thought some of the things we tried didn’t work. It's good to get those things out of your system, but there were quite a few moments when I felt it would be better to stick with what we’ve already got.

I’m glad we’ve still got a few days before we open, but it does feel like the time to meet an audience. I’m sure it will change a lot over the first week of performance and over the whole summer. I think the time feels right now to start that process, to start seeing what people enjoy and where they’re really attentive. I’m sure that even on Sunday we’ll have a good time and they’ll see a good show, but it's going to be scary!

The Globe stage

It's strange doing it on stage and in costume with all of our actual props, although I haven’t actually opened my mouth yet. It doesn’t feel that different just being on stage and moving around, but I think speaking for the first time will feel very different. I’ve been on stage a couple of times earlier in the rehearsal period, but that sensation of saying your first lines for the first time on stage is interesting.

We’ve also got the real music now. There are four musicians playing jazz live. They’re great, but I’m finding it really hard at the moment, because I got used to the CDs we were using in the rehearsal room. I think because we’re not dancers, we can’t help but rely heavily on our rehearsal melodies. We started to associate the melodies with certain moves, so I think everyone found it quite hard yesterday and today to be confronted with new music. I like it, and I’m sure I’ll grow to really like it, but at the moment it is difficult.

There's also quite a lot of music at the beginnings, ends, and in-between scenes. I was listening to it when we were all ‘sleeping’ at the back of the stage during the murder of Duncan, and it sounded really good. It punctuates things quite well, particularly because there are so many other sounds going on outside the theatre. There are more aeroplanes than I bargained for. It felt like two or three a show before; whereas, now it feels like more than two or three an hour. I suppose it's just something you have to judge in the moment, whether you feel that the best thing to do is wait until they pass or plough through it.

Most of all I’m just looking forward to our first performance on Sunday. I’m excited and scared all at the same time. What I want to start doing is just spending as much time in the theatre as I can. Even just at lunch times to try and get very used to being in there. I am looking forward to it very much.

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 change frequently as the rehearsal process progresses.

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