Shakespeare's Globe

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“I love mucking about and love having fun in rehearsals, but at some point I have to put that fun and my natural inclination to one side and think ‘I’ve really got to go to that place that is quite dark’. Because otherwise I’m not fully doing credit and justice to playing this part.”
As tech week draws to a close and previews begin, Sam talks about seeing the play in its entirety, Olly Fox’s beautiful and atmospheric music for the play, and the development of the jig.

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Time: 5 minutes 37 seconds

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Transcript of Podcast

Phi Brooks:

What happens in tech week for you?

Samantha Spiro:

Tech week at the Globe is very different to any other theatre because of course the main thing is, it’s not about lighting, and techs at other theatres are very often about atmospheric lighting, and it’s still very much about entrances and exits but here, more than anywhere else, it’s about playing the space and moving from the rehearsal room where the auditorium…When we’re rehearsing over at the Sackler, the whole auditorium was just this brick wall that was right in front of our faces. And of course, suddenly, I mean that’s the same in any theatre, you suddenly have to open it up. But we really do have to invite the audience in here, and we speak to the audience here and involve them, and they become very much a part of the production from that moment on. So, over those few days we start to take that on board and, really the sheer size of having to reach them, which is, is quite a task really.


How was seeing the play now in its entirety?


It feels really exciting, actually, it does feel really exciting and, putting the first half, for me, playing Lady Macbeth, putting the first half together, it all just informs…One scene goes into the next scene, and now, it would be very difficult to break it up. Now it would be very difficult to play those scenes in isolation, whereas of course in rehearsals that’s what it’s all about. Uh, but it’s just wonderful getting that sort of thrust of energy.


How important is the music to your production?


Very, very important, and Olly Fox [the composer] has done a wonderful job. Because as I said, you know, we don’t have the atmospheric lighting, so it’s all down to the live musicians creating this incredible atmosphere. And Olly’s written really beautiful, quite scary music. A lot of very robust drumming, and, I mean, some very beautiful music as well that’s eerie and, just takes you to the place that you want to be taken to. And sometimes it’s very subtle and you hardly are aware of it as the audience, but it really helps us and informs the piece greatly.


How were the jig rehearsals?


Um, it sort of all came together quite late actually, this time, and, really in the tech we suddenly…Because I think we were trying lots of different things and, until Emily [director Eve Best] saw the whole play together and saw it in its space, I think between Emily, Sian [Williams, choreographer] and all of us, all the cast, it was decided upon which elements would be used and then, and then some things changed completely right at the tech and it might even still be changing as we speak. In fact, Joe [Joseph Milson, playing Macbeth] and I did our little bit that we do. We reversed it last night and I think it was better, but we’ll see, we’ll see what Emily has to say.


And how have your initial impressions of your character changed? Or have they been confirmed since you’ve started rehearsals?


Ooh, gosh, that’s a good question. I don’t think, I mean we’ve definitely gone on a journey and, the way that Emily has worked has been incredible, because she’s, she’s sort of just carved everybody’s performance, really beautifully and subtly, and with great generosity and sensitivity, you know. There’s never been a great wash of, you know, big generalised notes, it’s very, just subtly carving. And so we, I think what we’ve ended up with, you know, you’ve sort of, I probably in a couple of weeks’ time will be able to have more of an objective view of what we’ve got.

Because at the moment, it’s sort of, been, I feel as if we’ve almost been tumbled in and then thrown out on the stage, you know what I mean?  I was just saying this morning, you know, I feel as though I’ve been, like, bashed by a juggernaut, you know, it’s ’cause I’ve been so, sort of, full on, um, so what have I ended up with? I don’t know at the moment. If I can talk about it objectively, it’s sort of…where we are really, and maybe it’s probably more for somebody to tell me what it is. But I don’t, I mean there have been little revelations, but I certainly feel as though the initial impressions of what we wanted to play and how I saw Lady Macbeth as a woman, which was a woman who was already undergoing, you know she was already suffering in her life and, with this postnatal depression, and a desire to fill this, sort of, big hole in her life. That’s still very much the starting point, and that hasn’t altered and, I suppose where that goes from there may have moved but, er, and shifted.


What have been the challenges for you of putting this production together?


Many, and varied challenges. You know, playing somebody who wants to commit a murder and then goes mad is a challenge because I love mucking about and I love having fun in rehearsals and, of course we have had a lot of fun, even though we’re dealing with very dark things. But, at some point I have to put that fun and my natural inclination to one side and, actually, I’ve really, really got to go to that place that is quite dark. Because otherwise I’m not fully doing credit to playing this part, and doing justice to playing this part. So that’s a big challenge for me. I’ve never killed kings before, and I’ve never had evil thoughts about hurting babies, and I’ve never lost my mind to such an extent as well as Lady M does. So, so that’s a big challenge. Certainly playing the space, although I was here last year, all over again it feels like a huge challenge and, it’s really an exciting challenge but, God it takes some energy, it really does, and you, ahh, you’ve just got to go out there like a warrior.

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