Shakespeare's Globe

RSS Rehearsal Notes 5

This is Che's fifth blog entry for the 2007 production of Othello Tech week in which he talks about tech week.

Transcript of Podcast

Tech Week

Tech week has been a bit of a last minute scramble. It is very tiring. We’ve been working from 10am till 10pm. This week has been all about putting on the costumes, getting used to moving and getting used to each other, looking at each other and suddenly going: ‘Oh my god you look really different and weird!’ I must say I feel great when I am wearing my doublet and hose. I just love it. It is interesting the effect it has on your posture. I totally broaden out. You start to swagger a bit.

Some people don’t like having the tour groups in while we rehearse. I like it, because it suddenly makes it real. The issue that we are all grappling with is how to hit the back wall with our voices and be heard. And there are three sets of potentially hazardous steps going up to the stage that we have to get used to. It has been gruelling but it is fun. There is lots of last minute line learning and last minute changes, the fight has changed again!

I have become louder now that we are on the stage. In the senate scene, I am wearing this really long heavy velvet robe and a hat, and it has given me a lot more weight. I think I have found the age of the character. The robe has these huge long sleeves; my senator is getting older and weightier, heavier as I move around in it. The tech is helping colour in the outlines we’ve established in rehearsal.

This week we have been joined by the musicians. Stephen Warbeck [the composer] is brilliant, he’s a genius! The musicians are fascinating guys. It is a good time for them to join us. We are a bit battered and tired and suddenly we have this influx of new energy. We also have three supernumeraries, extra actors who have non speaking parts, they have come in and they are very fresh faced and they are all at drama college, they have given us a real lift.

It is weird not having lights and all the usual things you have in a tech. You kind of wonder what is taking so long. It is amazing when you get a plane flying overhead. The natural thing is to look up, and the audience may too, but Wilson keeps saying: ‘they weren’t invented, they don’t exist!’ Nothing quite prepares you for that difference of being at the Globe theatre. I have never done an outdoor show.

We were all teasing Tim [McInnerny] backstage yesterday; he was going over his lines. He has so many lines! He is such a brilliant actor I have learned a lot from Tim. Iago is a bigger part than Othello, it is huge. But it is Othello’s tragedy. What makes it moving, is how much we love Othello when we first meet him. Also Eamonn and Zoe play their relationship absolutely beautifully. When Othello arrives off the Boat in Cypress and he has had a dangerous passage and he says: ‘It gives me wonder great as my content / To see you here before me! O my soul’s joy,’ (2.1.181-2) we see how happy they are as a young couple. I am up the back of the stage with a sword, looking at them and I always find that moment very moving. They are so happy. And within a day, two days, it has fallen apart.

These comments are the actor's thoughts or ideas about the part as s/he goes through the rehearsal process – they are simply his/her own interpretations and frequently change as the rehearsal process progresses.

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