"Actually that transition from day to night shows we found quite strange. I remember there was a week where everything seemed to change. We were like, ‘Oh, that scene is in darkness...’. And it kind of tumbled really quickly and we didn’t expect it, and you have to kind of readjust slightly. I mean some scenes, for me, work so much better in the evening, because I’m doing the villainous bits..."
Talking to us during a break in the show, Jo reflects on her favourite moments on stage, takes us through her mid-show break off stage, and looks ahead to the Midnight Matinee.
Time: 6 minutes 26 seconds
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Transcript of Podcast
Rona Kelly: And you’ve had a break now, so I guess it’s the last like leg of the run. You’ve got a Midnight Matinee coming up?
Joanna Dockery: We’ve got that next Thursday, I believe, or Friday. I’m really looking forward to that, I know a few people that have done it and said it’s just amazing. Yes.
RK: I’m already distracted by the music, sorry!
JD: Oh, is that the theme tune?
RK: It’s like a little prelude. Yes, the Midnight Matinee is such an experience. We were talking to Golda [Rosheuvel] about it and she said for the Romeo and Juliet one, it was the first time seeing it in darkness. It was light the entire run through.
JD: Of course, it would’ve been.
RK: So by the time you guys [do it], I guess you’ve had half the show, maybe, in the dark before?
JD: Yes, actually that transition we found quite strange. I remember there was a week where everything seemed to change, it just suddenly [did]. We were like, ‘Oh, that scene is in darkness. That scene is in darkness’. And it kind of tumbled really quickly and we didn’t expect it, and you have to kind of readjust slightly. I mean some scenes, for me, work so much better in the evening, because I’m doing the villainous [bits]. You know, when it’s dark and kind of…
RK: Intimate and just like mysterious?
JD: Yes. It’s really nice, it’s really nice. And then you do a matinee and you’re like, 'Oh! Hello, everyone!'
RK: And then you kind of spoke about the light there. One question that we always get from our listeners is performing in the rain. Because, particularly with the kind of equipment which you guys have got, and having that last minute change because they may not know is that there’s a certain call made at one point. And they say that if it’s too wet then, they don’t go in with the horses.
JD: And I didn’t realise how directly affected I would be by that!
RK: Oh really?
JD: Well so, if we don’t go on with the stilts at the beginning of the play then the horses aren’t established as a thing. So it’s quite a nice long scene when people get used to the idea that these are the horses. If that doesn’t happen and we come on on foot, the next time we see a horse on the stage is when I come on for quite a serious kind of scene where I tell Claudio that Hero is disloyal. And I come on on this horse that they’ve never seen! So the first time I did it, it got such a laugh because people are just like, ‘What the…?’ And we didn’t expect it and we weren’t prepared for it. And then we had to kind of let that settle, and then I kind of stared everyone out going, ‘Yes, it’s a horse!’
RK: 'Deal with it!'
JD: Yes! And then deliver all of this kind of…if it was sort kind of a light scene or was comic, I think we could have included that maybe. But we’ve found a way now (I don’t know how), but we’ve managed to find a way of kind of letting that settle if it happens. And then carrying on into the really important serious information. So yes, it’s okay...but it was a shock at first! I was like, ‘Oh my God, they’re laughing!’
RK: But that’s the thing with the audience, they really are like another character. You have to acknowledge them, you can’t cut straight through because you’re just going to get lost amid everything.
JD: Yes, yes.
RK: Have you had any memorable audience interactions?
JD: Oh God, I mean I’ve trodden on some people! I’ve trodden on toes and your instinct is to say, 'Sorry!' You know, I’m sure I have a couple of times, early days, and gone, 'No, you’ve got to just [not]'. You’re trying to, as I say, be in character but not actually barge people out of the way. I don’t think I’ve had anything too bad...I dropped my gun early days! I dropped my gun and someone bent down to pick it up and I was like, ‘No, no, no, no, don’t touch the gun!’
RK: Oh, is it actually loaded?
JD: It wasn’t loaded. I don’t have loaded guns, which is good. But even so, there are so many rules around it. It just sort of flipped out of my holster. But yes, nothing too bad.
RK: Touch wood!
JD: Touch wood. We’ve still got five weeks!
RK: I was going to say, we’re currently doing this interview in the dressing room between scenes, because Jo doesn’t appear on stage for most of the second half actually. You’ve still got the jig to go.
So how do you spend your down time? Your last scene in the play is what, probably about an hour and forty-five minutes, two hours in?
JD: Yes, I’d say I have about 45 minutes at the end of the play before the jig. I’ve started to use it. I write as well, so I’ve got a couple of things on the go at the moment. So it’s a really nice little window. I mean it’s not much time, but it’s quite nice to go, ‘Okay, that’s done’. Because I don’t have to think about another scene. And yes, [I can] just be a bit creative in those last few minutes.
RK: That’s really nice.
JD: Yes, it is nice actually.
RK: I think we’ve had people knitting before, we’ve got Bananagrams in the green room, Boudica cast are all over that.
JD: Don’t get me wrong as well, I do rubbish things as well! Like watching YouTube far too much. It’s not all work!
RK: 'No, no, I’m just sitting here getting into character for that final jig!'
JD: Yes...no, I just chill out!
RK: And, it might actually be the jig itself, but have you had a favourite moment so far?
JD: Oh, there’s loads. I mean most of my favourite moments are about…I love the comedy of the play obviously, but I am not part of that in a way. I’m kind of separate from that. Some of the moments that have happened around other people in their scenes, and when I’ve either been on stage or backstage. More than for myself...I had one moment the other day where I said something in my scene and a girl just went, ‘Yes!’ like that on her own. And I really wanted to do it back to her! And I was like, ‘Yes!’ But yes, I didn’t but I was like, ‘Yes!’ It hit home.
RK: Was it a super dark line or something?
JD: It was the lines where I’m saying, 'I will do what I want when I want', basically. And no one’s going to tell me what to do. It was that kind of section and she was like, ‘Yes!’ at the end of it. So that was nice.
RK: Because seeing it live as well, you do get those lines of, you know, ‘No man…’ It really hits home.
JD: It hits home, doesn’t it?
RK: It’s the same with Mercutio in Romeo [and Juliet], but it really does. I certainly felt like a female contingent were like, ‘Yes!’
JD: Absolutely, and it’s so lovely when one feels that they can vocalise it. It’s amazing. That was a nice moment. Girl power!
RK: Well thank you so much for joining us.
JD: No worries.
RK: And we’ve got one more interview, which we’ll catch up right at the end.
JD: Ok, lovely. Thanks.
Thanks to Liz for the transcription of this interview.