Shakespeare's Globe

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"I've never performed professionally with a piece of Shakespeare, so it's really exciting to do".
In her first interview, Jessie Buckley talks about performing both Shakespeare and at the Globe for the first time. She also discusses Shakespeare's strong female roles, particularly her character, Miranda.

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Time: 5 minutes 31 seconds

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Transcript of Podcast

Hayley Bartley:

Welcome to the 2013 Adopt an Actor podcast series. My name’s Hayley Bartley and I’m here talking to Jessie Buckley who plays Miranda in the upcoming Globe production of The Tempest.

So, how familiar were you with the play before starting?

Jessie Buckley:

I had read – actually, it was one of the first things when I moved over to Ireland that I auditioned for. And I read it when I was about 18 and I really, really love the piece and I love the character. And the relationship in the piece is something that’s very moving and I think everybody can kind of relate to the characters: between the father and a daughter and wanting to be all-powerful and wishing you were a magician when you were about 3. Yeah, I really loved the piece when I read it when I was young so it was amazing to get the opportunity to come back and do it for real.

HB:

And what about your initial impressions of your character, Miranda, then? What do you know about her?

JB:

Well, Miranda... she’s 15 and it’s quite an exciting age. I’ve got a sister who’s 15 and I think a lot of her when I’m working on this play because it’s kind of an age where you’re leaving behind being a child and moving into being a woman, which is uncomfortable but yet really exciting. And you still have that wonder of a child, but also you have an awareness from having grown up and having learned things. You want to know what is amazing about – well, I always think about it – the majority of Shakespeare’s women is actually they have such a strong backbone. And, very often, they can be portrayed as whimsical or too soft or pretty or something. But, actually, all the women are very strong and that’s something that I really was excited about with Miranda because she has got huge – she’s so, kind of... really ballsy and isn’t afraid to challenge or provoke people in power and break the rules as well, which... I love a rule breaker!

HB:

She is kind of in a bit of a man’s world, really. And being brought up by just her father.

JB:

Yeah, absolutely! I remember when I was young and I had just grown up with my younger brother and going through that period in my life where I felt like I had to be a boy and play rugby and do manly things to fit it. Not even just to fit in but just to, kind of, survive. And I think it, kind of, has given her a certain kind of charisma that if she had stayed in Milan and been tutored as a princess from a young age, she may not have had the chance to really find a gravitas or weight. I think she would have just been very vain and spent lots of hours in the mirror!

HB:

Probably very true. Very true. And, so, have you performed any Shakespeare before this?

JB:

Well, I’ve just left RADA [Royal Academy of Dramatic Art] and we do about two or three Shakespeare projects. I actually did The Winter’s Tale in the Rose Theatre two Christmases ago and that was amazing. And then, we just did King Lear last year. So, that’s my experience of Shakespeare. But, apart from that, I’ve never performed professionally with a piece of Shakespeare so, it’s really exciting to do this.

HB:

Well, that’s as close to professional as you get, though! Having seen some of the shows there [at RADA] – they are amazing. And so, what about the Globe? You’ve not performed here before so, how do you feel about that?

JB:

Oh! I won’t lie: it is a bit nerve-wracking. But I feel so lucky and privileged to be able to do Shakespeare in Shakespeare’s home, really. And to join a legacy that the Globe has, of the quality of work that they put out and also how much they invest in telling the stories that Shakespeare wrote so many years ago. I mean, I’ve come and watched productions here before and I’ve been really moved and excited. It’s a dream, really, to be able to come and perform in a place like this.

HB:

That’s cool! So, yeah, although you haven’t performed on the stage, you’ve seen others doing it. So, that could be useful. And have you done any preparation for your role before rehearsal?

JB:

When I initially read the piece there were certain things that I recognized in other pieces of writing and other storylines that I thought would be quite interesting to look into before we started. So, I had this idea about Ferdinand and Miranda’s relationship being quite like Adam and Eve and about discovering each other. So, I read some [George] Bernard Shaw plays and looked into pieces like that. I went back home to Ireland, back to the seaside to, like, smell the sea! And I just, kind of, kept reading the play and see what else the text could give me before I started.

HB:

What was it like on the first day, though: sort of meeting your fellow cast members and creative team?

JB:

It was really nice to, kind of, be in the room and know that this was going to be your family for the next six months. But then, initial like walking into the room and seeing everybody was a little bit intimidating. And because it’s my first job since I’ve left RADA as well and to be in a room with people like Jeremy [Herrin] and Roger [Allam] and people who’ve been in the Globe – and worked there for, like, years and know what they’re doing – initially, you have that kind of butterflies in your tummy and "oh, why have they chosen me?" But after, you know, when we sat down to do the read through it was really exciting to hear the text come off the page. And these characters that you imagine in your head when you read it yourself they just become alive. It’s really exciting!

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