Shakespeare's Globe

RSS University Quad, Glasgow

We are playing the Glasgow University Quad; it’s gorgeous, it’s sort of this old gothic building. We are in the middle of the courtyard. We are just surrounded by this lovely architecture and huge spire.

Transcript of Podcast

My good sweet mouse I commend me heartily to you …

We are playing the Glasgow University Quad; it’s gorgeous, it’s sort of this old gothic building. We are in the middle of the courtyard. We are just surrounded by this lovely architecture and huge spire. It’s a quite good space to perform in, in terms of vocal use because you can hear your voice coming back to you because it the bounces off the walls. There are walls on all four sides of the quad. We got the camper van in which is fantastic. We thought we might not be able to fit it in.

The weather on the first night was really windy, so that was challenging for the voice. It is hard when you are trying to pick up cues. You can’t hear things when you are off stage; you don’t know when to come on when it is that windy. Last night was our first experience of rain. It rained just until the show started and then it was spitting so the stage was really wet. We were having problems with the fights because it was too dangerous to do them and we are slipping everywhere. In the show it was tough because, personally, I run in every scene and I have shoes with no grip. I was slipping and falling every where. The stage floor is made from wood, but it still gets really slippy. It has been treated but I think it needs to be treated a bit more because it is too slippery. We did all the fights in the show but they were really slowed down. I think they were about half the speed, for safety. It is a bit of a shame but we still went ahead and the audience were all fully behind us. They knew the difficult circumstances we were in and they were all wrapped up and under umbrellas to watch. The rain held of for most of the show until the last, maybe, seventeen minutes. And then the rain actually really helped us. It was very cold and wet, and I am just in a shirt in the second half so I was soaking. Ellie has to come out in a bikini at one point and I come out of the camper van with my top off. So we were both cold and wet, but it made for some really nice images at the end with the lights on and the rain coming down and the lovers are lying there dead. It really worked. It was very powerful I think.

It’s funny because I have not really started travelling yet. I get to go home for this week. I am in my flat in Glasgow, so it is like I have not really started the tour yet. I am putting up four of the cast, so there are five actors in the flat. It is good that we are together and it has given me a taster of the tour, but it is breaking me in easy. It is quite nice to be able to work out what I need to take with me in my suitcase, the essentials, so that I am not carrying too much.

There is a really wide variety of audience which is great. It is really spread out. On the first night the audience was full of very young people. There must have been a class of maybe fourteen or fifteen year olds, and there was also the much older audience. Obviously I am from Glasgow, so there were a lot of people from drama school coming to see the show. So there were a lot of actors in their early twenties there too.

The show must be reasonably well received. No one has left yet, which is good, considering the weather. Last night we got a standing ovation which was nice. I think that was a lot to do with the fact that we had kept going and not stopped, and we were all shivering. They were saying: ‘well done for getting through it’. But the audiences have been really supportive and everyone seems really into the show.

The director made such good choices when cutting the script that it keeps the play very active and interesting the whole way through it. So the audience can stay on the journey with us without getting bored at points. Everyone works so hard to keep it passionate and active and take the audience with them and the audience seems to be really up for that and to come along on this story with us.

The play is definitely changing now we are in performance, particularly for me because I look to the audience at the points of extreme crisis. I talk to them, as do a few of the other characters, so it is really good to actually have an audience to chat to and work out where laughs come at different points every night. It is good to watch them and work out where the focus of a scene is. I am sure the work will develop much more over the tour, and we will work out different things at different venues we go.

We were rehearsing today to work out different entrances and exits. Now I am hiding behind a tree at one point and then coming back on, which is something I have not tried but I will try it tonight. I run off stage after the balcony scene and run back on to come and see the Friar. We are using the tree to get me out of the audience’s view, and it keeps me outside in the different world, rather than being behind the camper van and coming back into the world again.

We are going to have to work out different things but I think that will come quicker and quicker and we will try and use the spaces as much as we can.

… And so sweet mouse, farewell, and brook our long journey with patience,

Richard Madden

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