Week 3 Blog
We’re in a new rehearsal room this week. It’s lovely and light and a bit wider which will encourage the actors to stand in the corners more. At the Globe, the audience will be wrapped around the stage and we have a responsibility to make sure everyone has a good time.
It was amazing to meet Anthony Raine -a former serving soldier and our military consultant- who came in to help the actors playing soldiers with etiquette. He spent time working on saluting and marching with a ceremonial sword. Our production is set in modern times, so It was particularly useful to hear his views on the possible rank of each of the characters. He saw Don Pedro as a Colonel, Benedick as a Captain, Borachio as a Sergeant, Claudio -a young, impressive soldier- could be a much favoured Lieutenant. The actors were able to discuss their characters with Anthony and link their experience in the play to that of a modern soldier. In this way hopefully we can tell the story that Shakespeare intended in a modern setting, maintaining the status of each character. After all, status, and the characters’ perception of it, drives the plot: Donna Joan’s (probably a Major working in intelligence, Anthony felt) resentment of her brother leads her to concoct a plan to discredit people he cares about. And, as a high rank soldier and a prince, Don Pedro’s word is worth far more than that of someone of lower rank and, in the world of the play, far more than the word of a woman.
I’m really enjoying our rehearsals of the ‘gulling’ scenes in the play. These scenes involve Don Pedro’s plan to bring Beatrice and Benedick together in a ‘mountain of affection’. First Leonato, Claudio and Don Pedro gossip about Beatrice’s love for Benedick in the full knowledge that he is in ear-shot. Hero and Margaret (Ursula in the original text) then play a similar trick on Beatrice. In a play that explores the disastrous effects of deceit, it’s interesting that dishonesty is also used to bring about something positive. The two scenes are very different: the men are terrible at acting, constantly losing their way and then overdoing it. The women are brilliant and never falter. It’s significant perhaps that the first scene is in prose and the second in verse, certainly that affects the tone and our sense of how truthful the characters sound. Aruhan Galieva and Rachel Winters, as Hero and Margaret, are chillingly good at play acting. It’s no wonder that Beatrice is so affected by what she’s heard.
The fight director, Yarid, has been working with the actors today. Much Ado doesn’t contain any sword fights but there’s quite a lot of rough and tumble in our production. Yarid ensures that everything is safe for the actors so that the can repeat these moves safely for the entire run of the show. Of course the actors have to play their intentions fully so that everything appears to be real but at the same time make sure they’re keeping themselves and their fellow actors safe.
We have had our first run through which went very well. It’s great to feel how it all fits together and see what needs work. Everyone seems in good spirits and I am really excited about what’s in store for our audience. Only one full week of rehearsals to go!
NEW BRIEF AVAILABLE – Design the Set
A creative brief is given to each member of the creative team working on the project. It is intended to help them structure their ideas and keep a focus on the director's intended vision for the production.
The designer for The Taming of the Shrew, Andrew Edwards, has been asked to design a set for the production. To do this, he used a creative brief and talked with director Michael Oakley about what themes are important to him in this production.
Why not have a go at the creative brief and design your own set for Much Ado About Nothing?
1. Work in whatever way you feel most comfortable using the techniques that work best for you – if you don’t enjoy drawing, spend more of your time making a model.
2. When starting a new design make a note of everything in the story. Use these to think about the world you are creating and consider how the set design can support the telling of the story.
3. Think about the relationship between the actors on stage and the audience, and importantly what their sight lines are - you don’t want to build something so huge half the audience can’t see the stage!
4. Leave things open to interpretation – once you have an idea don’t tell people exactly what you are doing but hint at certain themes and let people draw their own conclusions.
5. Don’t discount things because they seem big and impossible, there will always be some big and theatrical way of achieving your design.
Now download the 'Set Brief' and template of the Globe stage on the right. Once you are done email your creations to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we may feature it on the site.