Blood. Lots of it. All of the time. 

Backstage at the Swan during a Tamburlaine show is a bloody mess. Mark Hadfield is the first to feel it, stumbling around looking for a towel after King Mycetes receives a bloody death face at the hands of a gleeful Naveed Khan. Shortly afterwards I’ll slit my throat in a heroic, stoic death scene -  probably, definitely the highlight of the show. Then the four virgins get blood all over them. Sagar Arya and Debbie Korley, after bashing their brains out, receive body shots from one of our legendary child actors playing Callapine. I join them again with a gut wound. Michael (Boyd, director), then thought it would be pretty if a vat under the stage pumped blood from underneath me, spreading it over the whole stage. The second half sees Raj Bajaj spewing it out after his dad gives him a stab to the stomach, then Ross goes (bloodily), as does the kid, then Zainab… Oh, and I get my tongue cut out. Which is also bloody.

Michael likes blood. 

This means that on two-show days - Wednesdays and Saturdays - I’ll have six showers. Sagar tends to be in the one next to me and we both have a good sing. At the moment it's usually Romeo and Juliet by Dire Straits... which is nice.

Two figures in black flank a figure all in white, each holding a gold crown above their heads.
Sagar I M Arya, Ralph Davis and Debbie Korley in Tamburlaine.
Photo by Ellie Kurttz © RSC Browse and license our images

We were all really excited about looking clean and gold and expensive in Timon of Athens. Our thinking was, we’d all have really nice costumes that stay clean and we probably wouldn’t be very sweaty at the end and could be down to the Dirty Duck shortly after the curtain call, no shower needed. Well, a couple of days ago we rehearsed the second banquet scene. In the original, Timon is exercising revenge on her ‘friends’ by serving them stones and lukewarm water. But neither we nor director Simon thought that was particularly exciting as an image… So it might be something far more familiar. Which means more singing with Sagar. Which is GREAT, right?

Ralph Davis

Ralph Davis

Hello! I’m Ralph and I’m part of the Swan Winter company. I’m playing the Poet in Timon of Athens and various furious kings in Tamburlaine. I’ll be unleashing some nonsense and offence on this blog over the next few weeks to give you guys a look in on how rehearsals and shows are going. Apologies in advance.

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