Blogs by Greg Doran

Middle Temple Hall

March 30, 2011
King Edwards boys thumbnail

We have to have made sufficient investment in each character to allow the audience to await the unravelling with eager anticipation. We have to make the audience experience, however unlikely the circumstances, a balance between the fantastic and the plausible - what Coleridge called 'the willing suspension of disbelief'. And we must do that by infusing these 'shadows of imagination' with genuine life-blood.

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Ash Wednesday

March 21, 2011
John Barton thumbnail

Last Thursday morning, the full company had a session together. I asked John Barton to join me for this time, and we worked on a chorus from Henry V and individual sonnets.

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Lace and rhetoric

March 18, 2011
Pippa Alex rehearsal thumbnail

Outside of the fiesta (see previous post), rehearsals continue at a more sober, steady pace. In one of the fitting rooms, Dorotea (Pippa Nixon), is being taught lace making, by local expert, Marion Stubbings. In Cervantes' novel, Dorotea spends her free time lace-making and playing on the harp.

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Pancake Tuesday

March 18, 2011
fiesta rehearsal thumbnail

We had a good session on the fiesta last week. Cervantes says that in order to win Dorotea's affection Fernando bribed the servants, and paid for music and dancing in the village every night, so we are staging this in the production.

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Stage shepherds can be hard to do

March 18, 2011
shepherds thumbnail

We try and imagine what these shepherds might look and sound like. I can hear the sheep bells, I can imagine the dogs barking, and the shepherds' cries echoing in the mountains, but what about their song?

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Horsemanship 2

March 9, 2011

After our trip to Knightsbridge, to the barracks of the Household Cavalry, we are alert to every reference to horses and horsemanship in the play.

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Horsemanship in Cardenio 1

March 8, 2011
alex helmet thumbnail

A visit to the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment this morning. While Mike Ashcroft, our choreographer, drills the rest of the company in a bit of movement work, and Paul Englishby teaches the motet which opens the play, I take Olly Rix and Alex Hassell (playing Cardenio and Fernando, respectively) to the Hyde Park Barracks.

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Week four already

February 25, 2011
Flamenco class thumbnail

It seems almost unbelievable, but we are starting our fourth week of rehearsals already. In the Cardenio rehearsal room, we are still mostly sitting around the table. Simon Callow in his book Being an Actor, describes this process beautifully, as we try to feel the play's aura, 'almost its force field.' It is a bit like sitting round a ouija board. The research we do is like lobbing a pebble into the collective pool of our unconscious and watching the ripples. Some research will be useful, some not so.

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Rehearsals begin

February 4, 2011
Pippa Nixon and Olly Rix visit the Swan thumbnail

So finally, after weeks of meeting actors and negotiating with my fellow directors, I have a cast. There are 17 actors in Cardenio (12 men and 5 women). All of them are also in Massinger's The City Madam, which has another 5 actors making a company of twenty two altogether. And we all started on Monday, alongside the parallel company which is rehearsing Macbeth and The Merchant of Venice to open the new Main House.

by Greg Doran  |  5 comments  |  Read this entry

The Escorial

January 26, 2011
Niki Turner at the Escorial

As we wander round this humourless mausoleum of a palace, I get a profound sense of death as a central theme in Spanish life. This persistent flavour of mortality gives me a strong sense of the opening of Cardenio where the Duke Ricardo, contemplating his imminent death with a steady gaze, tells his son not to grieve.

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Teaching Shakespeare