Shakespeare's Globe

RSS Letters Home: Oslo

Hello from Oslo, where the weather has been all over the shop! When we first arrived it was blazing sunshine, we were swimming in fjords! But that was soon to change…

Transcript of Podcast

Hello from Oslo, where the weather has been all over the shop! When we first arrived it was blazing sunshine, we were swimming in fjords! But that was soon to change…

We played to three venues in Oslo, and we started at Oscarsborg Fortress. We were completely in the round and it was just phenomenally but really quite tricky acoustically, as there was an echo: although it was an outdoor venue it felt more like and indoor one, because we were slightly enclosed, and any word you say was repeated twice or three times before the echo was gone. But we didn’t allow it to slow down our performance: you need to just plough on, and I think that’s what we did.

We spent most of our time in our second venue, Akershus Fortress, which was just amazing. It’s a thirteenth century castle, and just so beautiful. Our performance space had perfect acoustics – it was a walled courtyard, and our dressing room in the interval was a church, which was just stunning.

But then the weather changed. We had torrential rain for most of the time: it was drizzly through the day and then seemed to get heavier and heavier towards 7:30. It was quite a dramatic couple of days! But it was fine, we just ploughed on, we wore our wellies and macs and just got on with it. There was rumour one day of needing to go in. I think Raz [Shaw, the director] was trying to get in touch with the guys who run the church to say “Can we come inside?” We didn’t have a huge audience because of the weather so I think capacity was only a couple of hundred anyway. But we decided it was a little bit difficult to get all the props in, and of course everything was soaking wet. We do have a kind of ‘rain show’: you just have to start thinking really carefully about physicality and whether you want to do lifts and things. Simon [Merrells, playing Oberon] and I have a lift we do early in the show, and we often cut it if it’s really wet. It doesn’t make a huge amount of difference, you just have to sell it with just as much pizzazz without it, and act like it wasn’t there in the first place.

Keeping your spirits high and delivering as good a show when it’s wet as when it’s dry is really hard, but the Norwegian audiences were just amazing. They speak perfect English, which came as quite a shock to me. We knew that many people spoke good English there, but we were kind of overselling the show to make it clear for them, and we realised that we really didn’t need to! Of course there are some jokes that don’t work quite as well as with British audiences, but then again some work beautifully out there that we wouldn’t necessarily expect.

So it was an interesting couple of days, it was quite testing for us as a company, we went through quite a lot together. It was quite a learning curve for all of us, and we were really welcomed with open arms there.

Our third venue, Karljohansvern Fortress, was right by the water, which was just extraordinary. We had been near the water a lot, but it literally was 10 foot from where we were playing. It was beautiful; we’d had such good venues through the rest of the week that we didn’t know what to expect. Again, they were quite small audiences, but they’re so appreciative and really quite vocal out there, so that was brilliant, and I felt like we ended on a real high.

We had a lovely time in Oslo. In the days we were able to do what we wanted: a lot of the time we all sit at breakfast and have an itinerary of what everyone wants to do. Some people just need to rest because they’re very tired, but some people are up with the birds and running around. I do occasionally love getting up with them, have a good breakfast, and go out all day, seeing all sorts of stuff and coming to do the show. But of course if you do that day after day you have to remember that come 6 o’clock you have to be prepped to do a show!

All in all we had some really challenges out there, but it was amazing and really united us as a company. We had some amazing times getting to see loads of the exhibitions and art galleries out there, which is a huge highlight of the job, getting to do things like that. We’re really close and getting closer: we’re beginning to really depend on one another for friendship and family.

We’re back in the UK for our next few venues: you’ll be hearing from me when we’re at the Pavilion Gardens in Buxton.

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.