Shakespeare's Globe

RSS Production Notes 2

This is Mo's final blog post. This week he discusses how he helps keep the run fresh, and how his approach to his character changes between performances.

Transcript of Podcast

Keeping the run fresh

The truth is you just have to keep yourself open. I think Mark Rylance [the Globe's previous Artistic Director] said that one thing the Globe space demands is that you are in the moment and you try and be as in the moment as you can. The way to keep the play fresh is to just keep open to the impulses that might affect you on any given night. But some nights you sort of go onto automatic pilot but I think you know when you do that. It's hard. It's a real discipline. A friend of mine who does martial arts asked me if it was boring doing the same thing over and over again. I said to him that at its best, it's ‘Zen’, which is repetition until you become enlightened. It is all about a state of mind and what you have to do is elevate it.

I think I am very lucky with this play because my character comes in a little bit at the beginning and then he is spoken about a lot and then he comes in intermittently in the second half of the play. My entrances are spaced out in quite an ideal way in that it is quite difficult to get bored. I think that problem would arise more if you were doing smaller parts or a larger part more consistently. But how do I correct myself if I think I’m zoning out? I just give myself a metaphorical slap round the chops and hope I can shake it off!  

New discoveries during the run

I don’t think I’ve uncovered lots of new discoveries about my character but I have definitely found things about the ways you play the role and the different impulses you follow. Some nights I enjoy setting up Coriolanus’ character for his fall and sometimes I don’t. I think there is a real contradiction going on within Aufidius - I’ve always known that but I think it surprises me to find out which one happens on which night. It's important to be open to that contradiction. Again, it is all about being in the moment. Sometimes I think Coriolanus is pathetic and others I feel sympathetic, it's very ambiguous. I love the character of Aufidius so much because it is not clear cut. He is almost a warrior but then he is almost a politician. I think someone commented that there are not a lot of rhyming couplets in the play, and that this denotes high thought, and he has quite a lot of that. He's very quick as well in terms of his changes. He hates Coriolanus, then he loves him, then he hates him again and then he isn’t sure and it all changes very fast. There is a discovery every night because it's always slightly different.

 

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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