Shakespeare's Globe

RSS Rehearsal Notes 1

This is Simon's first blog post. This week he discusses the early rehearsals, his and other's interpretations of Puck, and he anticipates performing on the Globe stage.

Transcript of Podcast

Rehearsals

So far, I’m having a great time working on A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It’s a fantastic cast, and everybody in the company gets on well with everybody else, so we’re all really enjoying it.

Mike [Alfreds, Master of Play] works in a very specific way; there was no read-through, instead we went straight into movement, voice and text work based around small sections of the text. We will get up and try part of a scene with the script, then do the same thing using modern language – it’s quite nerve racking! The idea behind the exercise is that you have to understand what the text means to be able to put it into your own words. We have also done an exercise using lists of lines from the play to help us quickly get to grips with our characters.

So far, the whole rehearsal process has been aimed at encouraging us to be open, both with each other and with the Globe space. I’ve worked with Mike before at the Hampstead Theatre, and I really enjoy his way of working because it’s so detailed. His productions are very free; there is little pre-determined blocking, and he constantly encourages us to change things in every rehearsal and every performance. There will be some constants; some places we will have to stand and things we will have to do to allow the story line to work, but apart from that, we can do what we want.

Rehearsals worry me a little at the moment because there’s so much to do at once! I worry about the verse, trying to make it sound natural, and then I worry about my character’s movement. I feel I should be moving more because I’m playing Puck and he’s supposed to be energetic, but I find myself standing there doing nothing, and by the time I’ve realised it I’ve forgotten something else – it’s all a bit frightening!

The Globe stage

I’m definitely looking forward to working on the Globe stage. I’ve worked there once before, when I was at Drama School. I took part in a stage combat day called the "Golden Swords Expedition," when students from Drama Schools all over the country came to perform on the Globe stage. The experience of working in the Globe was quite superb and of course it’s invaluable to me now that I’m about to play there.

Puck

I’ve seen the play performed loads of times since I was a kid, so I couldn’t really avoid seeing other actors’ interpretations of the character of Puck. They have all been very energetic, very mischievous and bouncy, so I have a strong image of the character already. I’m certainly going to be energetic; there’s no way of avoiding it, as the lines and their rhythm lend themselves to that kind of interpretation. I’ve also been going to some acrobatics classes, doing backflips and somersaults, which I’ll try to fit in somewhere. Beyond that, I’m not sure at the moment how my character will develop – we’ll see!

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 frequently change as the rehearsal process progresses.

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