Shakespeare's Globe

RSS Rehearsal Notes 5 - Tech Week

This is Tas' final blog post. This week he talks about transferring the play to the Globe stage, his costume, and preparing for the opening night.

Transcript of Podcast

What is a technical rehearsal?

A technical rehearsal is taking what you have been rehearsing in a room for the last four weeks and actually putting it up onto the stage. You work on transferring the movements from a room to the stage and developing any fight sequences and all the action. It's really just working out the logic of the play in the space. We practise picking up cues, working out you need to start your entrances and exits, timing scene changes and so on to ensure that these are all running smoothly. Then director stands in the yard and makes adjustments to where people are stood or when they make their entrances just to make sure that the majority of people around the theatre have the best views possible.

I think the main difference between a technical rehearsal at the Globe and a tech elsewhere is that there are no lights. Often in other theatres the big problem is the lighting. Is the lighting right? Are the actors lit up properly on stage? Do we want anywhere else lit up at the same time? Of course, at the Globe you don’t need to worry about the lights but therefore we need to focus much more on the music and getting the right levels for that.

Take today for example; we were doing the war scenes in the second half and they had some of the musicians positioned outside the Globe theatre, actually on the other side of the piazza, and on a certain cue they have to bang drums and shake sheets of metal and then there is a huge explosion that is heard in the Globe. All of that is timed. It has to build to the right level and it's got to hit the right pitch and it's also got a cue in for when the next part of the story happens so we has to work on that a lot.

The technical rehearsal also involves making sure that the sight lines are good. In most proscenium arch theatres the audience are just looking front on whereas because the Globe is in the round it requires a bit more thought about where people are positioned on stage. We try not to have any straight lines on stage; we go for diagonals because that means that you can always see one person wherever you are in the audience.

My costume

I really love my costume! The material is what they call a ‘Roman red’ which is actually more of a wine colour. My character, Maecenas, has a very high status; he is one of Caesar's advisors and he has an outfit that reflects that. It consists of a tunic, like a shirt, which is quite exaggerated and long. On top of that I often wear a toga, which is pinned on my left shoulder and then falls down and goes around my back and then connects up to the shoulder again. That is really nice because you get this feeling of grandeur about the character. I’ve also got boots that come up to just beneath my knee and they are brown leather boots that are strapped all the way up the side. They take a little while getting used to - they are made from leather so they just need wearing in like any pair of shoes. For the war scenes I have this amazing leather armour; a breast plate and a back-piece as well and shoulder straps and then there is a cloak that hangs off of that. And that is really quite striking as well. Overall, I need about 15 minutes to get into my costume.

First night

I’m feeling alright about the first night now. When we went into the theatre on our first day of the technical rehearsal I felt really unsettled. I just couldn’t find myself on the stage and I was a bit unnerved. But now we’ve had a few days in here and I feel much more relaxed. I don’t know whether the nerves will kick in as we get closer to Sunday but otherwise it's fine.

To prepare for a performance, I do lots of yoga. I make sure I have a good stretch and I have a good vocal warm-up because that just relaxes me. I relax into my voice so that I become, in a way, not conscious of my voice. I know that it’ll do whatever I need it to do because it is nicely warmed up. I just try and relax as much as I can. I make sure I eat during the day but I try not to eat too much during the show. I can’t eat too much before a show, probably because of nerves.

I also go over my lines. At this stage, I am continually going over my lines for quite some time and I’m just thinking about what I’m saying and that reassures me in some way. It would be really weird for me to have gone out on stage without doing a warm up. That would be really strange.

Once I have done the show a few times and I’ve got used to the audience then I tend to feel better. That is going to be the particular challenge for this space and this audience and this play. But once we’ve done a few performances I start to believe that I can do this!

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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