Whispers from the Wings

Feel the fear and do it anyway

July 16, 2012

It's a funny thing, fear. You can assemble some of the finest actors in the business, actors with a CV as long as your arm, actors with a wealth of enviable stage 'n' screen credits and yet would you believe that we're all still terrified?

Much Ado About Nothing rehearsals and scriptWeek four was definitely the week that fear started kicking in. We ALL start asking the questions:

Do I know my character well enough? Will we be ready in time for the first preview in two weeks?! Are we getting the right message across for Much Ado? Are we telling the story we WANT to tell?

Actors even started to question their abilities. Doubt them, even. Actors asked other actors, 'Was that scene okay?'. 'Do I make sense?'. 'Do you understand me?'. 'Do I sound Indian?'. 'Does my bum look big in this?'. The answer to all of those questions is - of course - yes.

Alarming comments are blurted out of our mouths. 'We only have two weeks left to rehearse - s**t!' 'We open in two weeks - s**t!' 'I don't think I know my lines'. 'I don't think I know the part that I'm supposed to be understudying's lines!'. 'I can't remember the blocking'. 'I can't remember my name'.

Dangerous declarations indeed.

actors with lots of propsThe general public opinion is that actors, particularly those performing for the likes of the RSC (et al), are all uber-confident in their abilities; that they surely CAN'T be full of self-doubt or suffer from a crisis of confidence. Regardless of the length of the CV – we all go through it. It's all a part of the process and that's what goes into creating a piece of art.

The panic - and fear that sets in - happens to us all and it's inevitable. The conclusion will, of course, be a happy one. Particularly if the director's done his job properly. And (to be honest) we're in the hands of a quite superb director in Iqbal Khan and, believe me, there's no one capable of being more supportive and reassuring than our Director saab! He'll stitch everything together and slot it all beautifully into place.

Speaking of beauty, we worked a lot on the Claudio-Hero wedding scene this week. I've gotta say, I'm VERY excited about what we've got lined up for that. It's pretty cool. Hmmm. Can I give you a word that'll explain it but not give the game away? I probably can. Immersive.

bride and groom sitting side by side for the wedding sceneWe've got our own magical take on the masquerade ball, too. It's kaleidoscopic. It's intricate. It's a bit like synchronised swimming. Synchronised intricacy, if you will.

'Then sigh not so, but let them go,
And be you blithe and bonny,
Converting all your sounds of woe
Into hey nonny, nonny.'

by Muzz Khan  |  2 comments

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Jul 28, 6:05pm
Margaret Malcolm

We went to see Much Ado About Nothing on Thursday 26th - first night. We couldn't be seated until nearly 7.30p.m. because of the last minute touches being perfected. The performance finished at 11p.m. But what a performance! We were in the stalls and saw everything at close hand. It was superb. I can't say what I enjoyed best - it's impossible to say. I was just so glad to have seen it and enjoyed every minute. As with all of Shakespeare you have to listen hard. The delivery was perfect.

Jul 31, 12:59am
Muzz Khan

Margaret, what a beautiful comment! Thank you!

Really pleased you enjoyed it. Sorry it took us a while to get you all in. Last minute preps 'n' all that - plus it's always a bit hairy on a first preview. Means the audience will always get something pretty unique and exciting!

You'll be pleased to know that we've shaved a good 15 minutes off that 11pm finish - and are hoping to make it even shorter!

Thanks for your support!


Muzz x

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Teaching Shakespeare