Rain stops play at Agincourt
July 2, 2013
Henry V (the real one) led his troops to victory at Agincourt 600 years ago when torrential rain had turned the field of battle into a muddy quagmire.
Our brave cast weren't allowed to try and copy this – our much-anticipated rehearsal in Portsmouth's Historic Dockyard (the first opportunity to look at the 'stage' where we perform in a month's time) had to be called off as rainstorms had made the arena too wet and slippery for stage combat to be safe (but then, health and safety wasn't a consideration in 15th century battles).
Not only did we miss the chance to familiarise ourselves with our eventual acting space, but the director and producer (slave-drivers) have said we'll need to work even longer – and twice as hard – at the next rehearsal to catch up.
However, other work has gone rather better – although my personal progress was somewhat harmed by snapping one axe in mid-fight. Fortunately, as readers of previous entries will know, I have (had) two of these, so still managed to dispatch opponents as necessary.
More significantly, we had a valuable workshop this weekend, focussing on the correct use of Shakespeare's language and how to deliver his lines to best effect.
Led by Cathleen McCarron from the RSC, seen here explaining rhetoric to some of the team, this was good fun but also well worthwhile. To those less familiar with performing his works (like me), it was very helpful – although it was amusing to find that only one of those present knew what an 'orgulous' prince is (Troilus and Cressida, Act 1, Prologue, one of the texts we dipped into). I didn't – do you?
by Tim Stoneman
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