Shakespeare's Globe

RSS Rehearsal Notes 4

Shylock's story after Jessica's elopement is now for Norbert one of revenge.

Transcript of Podcast

Shylock's story after Jessica's elopement is now for Norbert one of revenge. He tells Salerio and Solanio, "The villainy you teach me I will execute.." it is also noticeable for Norbert that Shylock cannot talk about his feelings for Jessica, only his bond.

Norbert is now keen to work on the Globe stage and to run the whole play. He has increasingly noticed the different acting styles used by actors from different countries and cultures and he is constantly learning about what it means to work with an international company of actors. One example of these different styles is use of eye contact, some actors believe that eye contact is essential between characters, while others do not feel it to be so important. It is interesting to note that in ‘reality’ we often do not make eye contact with the person we are speaking to, particularly if a situation, or moment is difficult.

Norbert is conscious that he must now find the depth and range of emotion to play everything which happens to Shylock during the course of the play. He will have to find different levels on which to do this and to offer the audience the opportunity to respond to Shylock in various ways.

At this stage in rehearsal Norbert feels able to make some decisions, although he still tries not to fix moments rigidly. He has decided that Shylock agrees to the bond as a joke, as a type of barter arrangement with Antonio. He has been asked many times ‘does Shylock really want to kill Antonio?’ Norbert believes that he does, Shylock believes he is right to ask for payment of his bond – "What judgment shall I dread doing no wrong?" (Act 4 Scene 1). For Norbert this belief is Shylock's mistake; he feels Shylock believes Antonio must suffer for the sins of Christians – Lorenzo specifically.

Shylock's mistake is that he is not merciful; Norbert feels that mercy is the aim of our society but we must accept that we are not always merciful – it is a quality to aspire to. It is Shylock the person, not the Jew that is not merciful – it is possible that the Jewish community in Venice would not accept Shylock's actions as a just revenge.

Norbert sees Portia as a strong and manipulating character who is motivated by desire for happiness in her marriage to Bassanio rather than the desire to save Antonio's life. Antonio's death would have a negative effect their marriage.

Norbert now feels ready to perform on the Globe stage and is looking forward to working with an audience.

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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