Shakespeare's Globe

RSS Rehearsal 2

Arthur is now 3 weeks into rehearsals of Dr Faustus and so he talks about the importance of text, voice and movement sessions at this stage of the process. He also reveals how his initial impressions of Mephistopheles have changed from being a fast paced devil to a more controlled guider of the play's action.

Audio placeholder

Time: 4 minutes 28 seconds

Download (4.1MB, mp3 format)
To download, right click on the link and select 'Save link as'.

Transcript of Podcast

Hayley Bartley:

You’re three weeks into rehearsal now, just at the beginning of the fourth week, so have you done any specific text work?

Arthur Darvill:

Yeah, it’s brilliant. There’s this brilliant man here called Giles [Block], who is the guardian of the text, and he has just been so helpful and generous with his time and brain. It’s really funny because you kind of look at the way verse is laid out and at times it can just seem like - you want to kind of change it and put the pauses in different places and emphasise words for the sake of it. Actually, it’s all written there for you, it’s all in the text, and he’s very good at just pointing out where you’re skipping over lines, or missing words, or breathing in the wrong place. And it’s been really useful, far more useful than I thought it would ever be.

HB:

Yeah, there’s nothing better when you hear just well spoken verse. After you’ve seen so many productions you get really attuned to it.

AD:

Yeah completely, and it’s once you know the rules you can break them for the right reasons. It’s been quite hard, things like, when the sentences go on for whole speeches and you have five or six lines which is one sentence and you kind of think you need to power right through the whole sentence, but actually there are different thoughts within that sentence, each thought has its own line and if you breathe before each new line then you actually discover a lot more about the line. He’s just very good at picking up on things like that.

HB:

So it’s more kind of punctuation and things, because obviously you’re really great at the text, you get it all!

AD:

[Laughs] I get it all. I understood it all straight away!

HB:

Exactly, and how about any voice or movement sessions?

AD:

Well, we’ve been doing a lot of movement stuff. I’ve got my first voice session this afternoon actually which is probably going to be quite useful. Yeah, it’s amazing how much your mouth is your biggest tool and I need to get my diction up, so I’m going to use that voice session quite thoroughly. But in terms of movement, we’ve been doing lots of it. George [Lamb], who is our movement director, has been doing lots of work with everyone actually and there’s lots of moments where, you know, everyone’s on stage being friars or being planets and she’s been brilliant at that. And we’re still working out every morning which I think is making us stronger as much as - we kind of get in every morning and go, “Oh my God! I can’t believe I’m going to have to run around and do push-up’s for an hour.”

HB:

Still doing those?

AD:

Still doing those, yeah! But it’s working and I think we’re all feeling the benefits there.

HB:

Yeah, I think it’s great. You all seem knackered but it will be worth it and by the time you get to the performances...

AD:

...Yeah, we’re beginning week four, we’ve been doing it for three weeks now, I think it’s finally starting to actually take some effect and we’re all feeling a bit stronger.

HB:

It’s definitely a good reason for it. And are you doing a jig?

AD:

There may be a jig.

HB:

You haven’t started doing it?

AD:

We haven’t started doing the jig yet but Jules [Maxwell], who’s our composer, started kind of playing something the other day which we all got quite into. The music is brilliant in this play, I think he’s a bit of a genius and what he’s been doing - he’s been in rehearsals every day just kind of writing while we’re doing stuff so it’s completely tailored to the show. It’s not just someone kind of coming in and going, “This is the music!” Yeah, the music is completely integral to what we’re doing and really helps to set up a lot of moments in the play.

HB:

That’s really nice because I know in a lot of productions it doesn’t come until later; so it’s not until the tech week that it all comes together and then the actors are “Oh it’s so great having the music, it really adds something to it.” So it’s nice that you were doing it earlier on.

AD:

Yeah, it’s really good and there’s so much of it as well. I think if we left it all to tech week our brains would all explode.

HB:

Exactly. And so I just finally want to ask whether your initial impressions of Mephistopheles have changed or been confirmed since the beginning of the rehearsal process?

AD:

They’re changing daily I think. I mean, yeah, completely, in terms of his physical presence, it’s changed a lot. At first I thought he’d be kind of fairly fast paced and like a kind of fire-devil-thing, but actually I think he’s more of just a presence in the room, kind of guiding, it’s far more controlled than that and I’m really enjoying playing with that. It kind of gives a certain amount of freedom playing with a bit more strength and a bit more – that he can just stand still in a room and look and guide things over rather than being – because he is invisible he doesn’t have to make a show of everything, it’s very much controlled so, yeah, that element of it is changing all the time.

HB:

And like you said, you’ve kind of made a decision of how you maybe want to play him; that there’s options and you’re starting to decide on that. It’s exciting and I look forward to seeing what happens in performance, so thank you very much.

AD:

Thank you.

Back to top

ADD YOUR THOUGHTS TO THE CONVERSation

We welcome your opinions. This is a public forum. Libellous and abusive comments are not allowed. Please read our Forum Rules.