Shakespeare's Globe

RSS Tech Week

“Making your choices feel real, playing the whole of the piece and seeing what cog you are in the machine is always a challenge.”
Fergal discusses getting used to the Globe space, working out how scenes transition together, and ensuring that the text is the main focus.

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Time: 5 minutes 14 seconds

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Transcript of Podcast

Phil Brooks:

So, what happens in tech week?

Fergal McElherron:

Tech Week is where all the things that we couldn’t do in the rehearsal room get done, basically, and that’s like costume changes, quick changes, any major props, any bits of set that weren’t available in the rehearsal room suddenly turn up on stage, and also just playing the space, getting used to the space itself, because The Globe is such a character in its own right. When you come out of the rehearsal room where you’ve got the four walls and the ceiling, and then you go into The Globe where there is no ceiling and the walls are like miles away, feel like miles away. It’s very much what it says it is, it’s technical week, it’s where all the technical stuff happens, so, we start fine tuning any music, any singing, any choreographed bits. Because even though we have the stage marked out on the floor in the rehearsal room when we get on the stage itself and you’ve got this raised platform, freestanding, so to speak, in the middle of the yard, you just suddenly realise you’ve got more space to fill. So, inevitably things start to expand slightly, and, so, where you might stand quite close to someone in the rehearsal room, suddenly you’ve got more room, little things like that, it’s all very practical as well.  And, quick changes, and also the scenes kind of dovetailing into each other. Big thing that when you working in The Globe, you don’t really, when a scene ends, you don’t want a moment where nothing is happening, because it’s not like a normal theatre, you can’t go into a blackout, you can’t bring you’re curtain down or anything, so the scene’s tend to dovetail into each other, so as a character finishes a scene, as they’re leaving the stage, the next scene is starting as it enters the stage, so in tech week  you start to work on that stuff and the timings of it, and how long it takes you to get from backstage to visibly on stage, so you work on what line you have to start walking in on. I really enjoy tech week, because it’s always a relief to get out of the rehearsal room into the theatre itself and just start playing around again and start feeling things in a different way, you know, it’s cool.


How is it seeing the play in its entirety now, now that it has come all together?


It’s great, I don’t know if I have mentioned to you before, but when we rehearse, you kind of rehearse in isolation, particularly with this play, because you’ve got very clear sections, you’ve got all the lovers stuff, you’ve got the fairy stuff, you’ve got the mechanical stuff, and then suddenly you get into the theatre, and you start seeing everyone’s bits, and it’s terrific, it’s just so good because you get to see the play that you are in, because you only really do one or maybe two run throughs in the rehearsal room, so, it’s only when you start getting into the theatre itself that you start running big chunks, for real, or what feels like for real, and it’s always  really exciting to see what everyone else has been doing, and you go “Oh wow, right, that’s the play I’m in.”


Especially, when I guess the musicians come in as well, and everything starts fitting together?


Oh yeah, Oh yeah. That element just, you know brings everything to life in a different way, it’s terrific. And just putting on the costumes, you might have little bits of costume in the rehearsal room, like the fairies, we had our masks, in the rehearsal in the final week, but until you get into the full gear, you don’t fully see what you are, you know, so it’s very exciting.


How does having the costume help you with your character, or does it?


Well there are some practical things. It dictates the way you move a lot. I mean, in this, the Mechanicals wearing clogs has been a big thing. It dictates a lot of how we move because it’s very slippy, which is what we discovered when we got onto the stage. The wood on the bottom of the clogs and the wood on the stage – it’s slick, it’s like ice. So that dictates a lot. Just the way the costume feels on your body sometimes, depending on the costume, you might not be able to lift your arms as high as you thought you could – some very practical stuff. And other things, you just look in the mirror and you go, “ah, right, that’s what he looks like”, and you start to change wee things, and then you start to use bits of your costume. So, to me, costume does change things; not radically, you wouldn’t do an about turn. But, it definitely . . .


Adds extra flourishes?


Yeah, it does. It adds another element.


What have been the challenges of putting this production together?


Gosh, any Shakespeare is a challenge, I think. Making sense of it, making your choices feel real, playing all of the piece, and seeing what cog you are in the machine, is always a challenge.  And just the text – Shakespeare – the text is always a challenge. And that’s true of any Shakespeare I’ve done. If you nail the text, that’s where it’s act. Everything else is beautiful production on top of the text but, for me, the text is everything, and that’s where the play lies. And then you start to interpret it and add you your production on top of that.  Getting that right, and knitting everything together, is always a bit of a challenge, you know?

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Kevin Mansell, London E7

This is a captivating and joyous show with great dancing , droning , and superb comic interplay. And so moving in terms of place, with WS somewhere around enjoying it too 450 years on!


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