Shakespeare's Globe

RSS Rehearsal Notes 5 - Tech Week

In Jack's final blog post, he discusses the technical rehearsals, his costume and hair, and how he will prepare for the opening night.

Transcript of Podcast

Technical rehearsals

This week has been the technical rehearsal. I’ve been surprised at how much there is to do in technical rehearsals at the Globe because we don’t have to think about lighting, which is often the major consideration. But the entrances and exits are very different on the stage than in the rehearsal room and we have to fit in the music. There is quite a lot of music, whether it's music cues, background accompaniment or music that goes over the end of one scene and the beginning of another. It's important to get the timing right so that the energy doesn’t drop.

We’re in costume this week and we’ve got to rehearse all of the costume changes because some of them are very quick indeed! We have to run those scenes so that the dressers [the people backstage who help the actors in and out of their costumes] know that they are going to have enough time and we also have to make sure that the props are in the right place; there are just lots of nuts and bolts to fit together and they are fitting together really well at the moment. I think we are making really good progress.

A lot of people talk about the unique and immediate relationship between the actors and the audience in this theatre. It's as if the audience becomes another character in the play - if you perform your lines out front to the audience it doesn’t feel like you are just playing into the darkness; it feels like you are really engaging with the audience.

There have been lots of tour groups in the Globe so lots of people have been inside the theatre for some of the technical rehearsals. Sometimes it must be really interesting to watch but at other points the actors are just standing around on stage waiting for technical things to be done. The other day there were two tour parties upstairs as well as some children in the yard who were standing right in front of the stage and someone in the cast pointed out and said, “Look, that's what it's going to be like!” And we looked out and there were all of these faces staring at us. It is going to be incredible on Sunday!

Somebody pointed out to me that I’ve got quite a few scenes where I hold letters and for my first scene in particular I come out and hold a letter out in the air in front of me. I know my hand is just going to be shaking because walking out on stage will be such a daunting experience.

Costumes

I have one base costume which is a very beautiful golden outfit. It's a pale gold so it's quite restrained and makes me look quite innocent. I also really stand out against the red and the dark colours that everyone else wears. It is a very restrained grandeur which suits Octavius exactly. I have a gold toga which goes on top of it. I also have these big boots which are actually rubbing a bit at the moment. They were made specifically for my feet but they are rubbing on my ankles a little bit.

For some scenes I wear leather armour on top of my outfit which consists of a breastplate, shin guards and a sword. It reminds me of the armour I played with when I was a kid – it's like wearing an adult version. It's crazy putting this outfit on and that it's my job to wear it!

This week, I’ve had to have my hair cut. I quite like having my hair cut for a part because it does make me feel very different. This is a ‘Globe’ hair cut and they’ve made my hair look very Roman, especially when they style it by combing it down. I’ll have to have my hair cut throughout the season. I do think it is very good because it makes me look very young when I have short hair and am clean shaven. When I’m on the stage and in my costume people have commented that I look very young which is good because Octavius is always referred to as ‘the boy’ and that creates a very good contrast between me and Antony.

I’m in two plays this season at the Globe and in the second play I’m playing a monk - they want my hair longer and I might have a bald patch so I don’t know what they are going to do about that - I might have to wear a wig.

Preparing for a performance

I think that when you are nervous it is quite good to try and stop thinking about yourself - so if you can have fun or play a game in the Green Room then I think it is really, really healthy to stop thinking and worrying about yourself. Or just lie down and relax and don’t think about anything. You should just judge it on how you are feeling.

On Sunday I will probably be in the Green Room playing backgammon, or I’ll just be pacing gently. I’m not superstitious, but I know that I will get into a routine with this show so that when I am not on stage in a scene I will always go and sit in a certain place and be there with a certain group of people. Most actors follow the same routine backstage every night. I think there is a real reassurance in that familiarity, to have something stable. I love that routine.

 

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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