Whispers from the Wings

The time has come

September 11, 2012

Ben Deery sitting on a present in rehearsalSo, the time has come. Over the course of tomorrow afternoon, the cast and production team of the YPS King Lear will make their way to Southampton, in preparation for our first public performance on Tuesday afternoon.

We're looking forward to sharing our version of the play with audiences, some of whom will never have seen it before (or indeed any Shakespeare), some of whom will know it well. We hope it'll surprise and excite both.

This is my first time working with the RSC. I'm incredibly excited about the opportunity. Edmund is one of those parts that, when you're invited to audition for it, you're desperate to secure. Then, when you finally get the job, you wonder how on earth you'll ever actually be able to play it.

Over the past five weeks Tim and I have created an Edmund that bears almost no resemblance to the rough sketch I brought in with me on day one. We've had a lot of fun exploring the ways in which he can be an enticing but inscrutable figure for the audience, and ultimately, a pretty unsettling one. It'll be fun seeing what they make of him.

Tim's rehearsal room is an incredibly exciting, tremendously enjoyable and endlessly creative space. There is a lightness of touch and a sense of fun that could conceal just how much work is being done.

No idea is too crazy or too irreverent to explore. It is a room within which we have all been deeply moved and, also, rendered utterly helpless with laughter (often all within the space of a few moments). It's enormously productive, but with just the right irresistible hint of anarchy.

In addition to performing the play, we'll also be conducting workshops in the schools we visit. This is, again, something entirely new to me. However, we've spent a substantial fraction of the rehearsal period developing material, and our cast includes some really experienced and skilled practitioners, all working under the guidance of the superb Jamie Luck. If you're going to find out how theatre can be used as an educational tool, these are the guys to learn from.

Within my workshop group alone we've got Tyrone Huggins, who is a titan of alternative theatre, Matt Sutton, who has led workshops in just about every conceivable scenario, and Dharmesh Patel, a YPS veteran who brims with the most infectious enthusiasm you will ever encounter. I am in safe hands, to say the least.

by Ben Deery  |  No comments yet

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