Shakespeare's Globe

RSS Rehearsal Notes 4

In his fourth blog post, Jack talks about the challenges of performing in front of a visible audience, how his confidence has grown and how Shakespeare writes for the stage.

Transcript of Podcast

Performing in front of a visible audience

Just before drama school, I performed in some outdoor theatre spaces. But everyone here at the Globe has talked about the uniqueness of this space and the audience interaction. Joseph Marcel [who is in Coriolanus] was talking about it and he was saying that as an actor you are trained to act in a black box where you can’t see anybody, so this is just very different and slightly unnerving but exciting.

Yeah that is one of the biggest shifts. But everything is in a really good state at the moment, and we’ve got about three more runs before we go into the theatre, and then we open on Sunday, so we’ve got about 5 days. I think we’ve got a dress rehearsal on Sunday, or Saturday I suppose if it goes well, but I haven’t studied my schedule well enough to know that.

Confidence

I am feeling fairly confident with my part. I think my confidence changes depending on the day because in rehearsal you just go through waves of struggle and confidence. Doing the run has given me a lot and helped me to identify little bits that I need to shift and what I need to keep working towards. There were a couple of scenes that I never felt fully comfortable with until we did the run and I’ve made progress with them, but I still need to go further. There is the scene on the boat where we are all together on the boat drinking (Act 2 Scene 7) which I was struggling with a little bit, and the scene I do straight after that where I say goodbye to my sister (Act 3 Scene 6) which is hard because it's quite a tricky emotional scene to pitch correctly in terms of showing the audience how upset I am but also keeping the restraint of my character.

I find that it's only in a run that I can really experiment because in a run you realise see your character in its entirety. A good example of what I mean is the scene in which I’m told of Antony's death. When we rehearsed it on its own we had to create a certain amount of the sensation but when you’ve just played the history of your relationship it really helps.

Shakespeare and the stage

That's what is so amazing about Shakespeare; because he was an actor as well as a playwright I think he understood what he needed to give actors at certain points. For instance, in Hamlet there are a couple of instances where he gives Hamlet a break for a couple of scenes, or a little break just before he does a huge soliloquy, so the actor can go backstage and go ‘Phew, it's OK, I’ve got a moment’ and so on. Shakespeare is always very sensitive to that, I think.

Shakespeare is always amazing thinking of the practical issues actors and directors face. For instance, when Enobarbus dies the soldiers come on stage and say that they need to take him away because he might recover and they carry him off stage. Shakespeare ties it all up instead of just having the body lying about on stage for ages and someone having to randomly come on and collect it. He just has an incredible sense of what is required. And it adds to the play because it maintains that world of the play – you don’t have a stage manager sneaking on, you have soldiers who are engaging with it and commenting on it. He has such an amazing theatrical sense.

Next week

  Next week we go into the theatre to do the technical rehearsal. That is a huge change and an exciting shift because obviously the finalising of moments happens when you are in the theatre. Also, I just love the technical rehearsals in the theatre because you have to be quiet because there is so much going on and while you are just standing in the theatre and you can work out lots of things like where you are moving to and so on. You can see where you are playing to and you can judge how far your performance has to raise to - the distance your voice has to cover - particularly with this theatre because it is so unique.

 

These comments are the actor's thoughts and ideas about the part as s / he goes through the rehearsal process – they are simply his / her own interpretations and frequently change as the rehearsals progress.

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