Shakespeare's Globe

RSS Rehearsal Notes 1

This is David's first blog post. This week he discusses becoming an actor, performing Shakespeare and the experience of performing at the Globe.

Transcript of Podcast

Becoming an actor

It was when I was about 14. For quite a while I’d wanted to be a vet, but after one school parents’ evening my parents came home and told me that the teachers said I didn’t have any chance of becoming a vet because I was so bad at science. So at the age of 14, I thought what can I do? I was a member of a youth theatre and I really enjoyed it, so I thought about it for a career. So it was from really quite a young age that I wanted to be an actor. I continued at the youth theatre I was in, which happened to be very good, in Dulwich in south London, and I did lots of plays with them until I was about 19. In the meantime I joined a couple of other ones as well. Really it was the youth theatre route that got me into acting.

Shakespeare

Professionally it's almost all I’ve done. I left Drama School five years ago and my only employer in the first couple of years was Argos [a retail chain] where I did a series of short plays as a training aid for the Argos management and staff to watch. I did an all male version of Romeo and Juliet set in a public school, called 'Shakespeare's R&J', then Much Ado About Nothing and Henry V, both in Arundel. And then last year at the Globe I did three shows, Winter's Tale, Troilus and Cressida, and Measure for Measure. The only exception to that is Journey's End, a World War One play, but other than that, just Shakespeare.

Working at the Globe

The building itself. It is the most incredible place I’ve ever performed in. The first night of the Winter's Tale was my first time. Coming out and seeing a sea of faces, at your foot level, staring up at you expectantly, happy, without judgement, eager – it was just incredible, the most wonderful atmosphere. Then there's the shared light. I love the shared light. Not only can we see the audience at the beginning of the play, but we can see their reactions – that's wonderful. Obviously we can hear their laughter, and very occasionally there will be the odd comment, not often, but a comment might be shouted out, and I don’t think that's a bad thing, it's just an indication of the feeling the space induces.

You don’t have to use your voice differently. Last year I remember being very scared before my first voice lesson on the stage. I really was petrified, I completely forgot about any voice training and technique, I just shouted and pushed, it sounded awful. That was purely out of panic I think. The voice tutor assured us all we didn’t need to do that. Actually it's a very good space vocally, even though it's open air, because the galleries are stacked one on top of another. Even if you are in the top gallery you’re still not that far from the stage. So it's a surprisingly intimate theatre for the fifteen hundred or so who get in there. It's a very intimate space.

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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