April 2, 2013
I've found this Titus week quite challenging. It's great to see how scenes are starting to piece together and yet there's one scene in which Lavinia pleads with Tamora, Chiron and Demetrius that I'm finding difficult.
Technically I have to remember set fight moves so no-one gets hurt, not favouring a side for too long because we're working on a thrust stage, check I'm breathing correctly, remind myself of what my character wants and how she's going to get it, the rhythm and clarity of the language… amongst many other things.
It feels like a lot of balls to juggle and while I'm concentrating on one I'm dropping another.
I recognise that working this out takes time and the plan is to get to a place where I'm juggling invisibly, subconsciously; it's necessary invisible work which I then have to forget and trust is inherent. For an audience member there is nothing clever or more distracting than seeing how an actor is doing something.
I went home to see friends and family over the Easter weekend which was lovely. When I move to Stratford I'll only be able to see them once a week so I'm being extremely selfish until then. While I was there my Dad told me a sweet story about my Grandfather 'Charlie'. The story contains blood so I thought I'd copy it in…
So my Dad, let's call him John, aged 10, comes home one evening to find his father, aged I don't know, in their garden shed. He's wedging a microwave under his left arm and in his right hand is a club hammer.
John: Dad, what are you doing? Mum told me to tell you dinner's ready.
Charlie: There's a magnet in here and I'm going to get it.
Charlie: Because we can use it for something.
Saying no more, Charlie brings the hammer back and down to meet the microwave, breaking it only slightly. He brings the hammer back and down again and a piece of glass falls to the floor. He hits the microwave a third time and it explodes, sending glass everywhere – okay, I may have slightly embellished that with the theatrical power of three but the rest is true - Charlie has small cuts all over his face that are beginning to bead blood.
Charlie puts the hammer down and moves to a step ladder. Drawing it up to a corner of the shed where a giant cobweb is hanging, he climbs the ladder and gathering the web turns to his son.
Charlie: Now you're going to learn something. Wrap this around my head.
Charlie: The thickness of the web will stem the flow of blood.
Little John does as asked and after he's finished his father looks like a mummified sultan - but the blood has stopped. Father, now all wrapped in cobweb, walks son into the house and they sit down to dinner. His wife, my grandmother, watches silently as Charlie spoons chicken through a man-made mouth hole...
I'm now going to get on to Gabs and Tom, stage management, to see if there's any mileage in massive cobwebs.
by Rose Reynolds
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