Shakespeare's Globe

RSS Rehearsal Notes 5 - Tech Week

This is Paul's sixth blog post on rehearsals. This week, he talks about moving into the theatre for tech week and how the play changes in that time.

Transcript of Podcast

Tech Week

Tech week was intense; we only just finished teching before the show. I think we all assumed that it was going to be quicker, but that is the nature of tech, things crop up that need a lot of attention. There is a lot of music in the play, which I think is absolutely beautiful. But it meant that a lot of tech week was to do with musical cues. We quickly found out that it can be hard for the musicians to see what is happening on the stage or even to hear us.

We finished the tech on Saturday night, had our first dress on Sunday during the day and then the first performance in the evening. It was all quite tight, but it was fine. I can’t remember the last time I’ve had two dress rehearsals before a show!

Getting used to the space

When we moved on to the stage it didn’t all immediately slot into place for me. It is bigger than our rehearsal room and I knew I had to work hard in the space, so I did that straight away and I actually went too far and was trying a bit too hard! But that was fine, because then you can cut it back, as opposed to trying to find the energy from nowhere. So moving on to the stage was a big learning curve.

I’ve learnt how to be vocal in a wide space from my training. It’s fine in a certain register but as soon as you start going high, or playing something that has a different register from where you usually sit, that can be difficult. It’s something I’ve still got to get my head around. It really pushes you harder on the high notes and then your voice ends up going, or breaking. So I’ve got to look after that and look at different areas where I can use my voice better.

It sounds ridiculously obvious, but in the middle at the front of the stage is great for projection. When you get out from underneath the canopy you don’t actually have to work that hard from there because it’s such a good acoustic.

Staging

In the scene with Diomedes and Cressida, where she betrays me (5.2), the two of them are playing their scene while Ulysses and I are watching and talking. The way it has been staged is that we’re standing next to them but they can’t see us. And on top of that, Thersites is onstage too, he can see all of us but none of us can see him.

In rehearsals we started with the idea of hiding behind pillars but you can’t pretend to be naturalistic in that space, it wouldn’t work and it would just be cheap, so we tried to forget all of that and just played the scene as if we couldn’t see each other – as it is written. It needed building because it is such a complex scene, and it’s got to be quick as well, but we eventually got it in the rehearsal room. I hope the audience buys into it and accepts it. It’s incredible when it holds their attention. You can hear a pin drop when it’s like that, which is wonderful.

Anticipating an Audience

It was good experience rehearsing in the space, because there were tour groups constantly coming in and out, and so you get used to people being in there. We could use them to play off and they loved the fact that they could actually see something, not just the empty space – they could actually see people working on a show. They were also really quiet too … which helps!

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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