Whispers from the Wings

'I am a man more sinned against than sinning!'

November 7, 2012

video cameraThus Paul Copley comes to the end of his first speech of the storm scene, a spine-tingling and majestic growl to which we have become accustomed over the past few months.

What happens next, however, is something more of a surprise - from somewhere in the room beyond is heard a terse shout of 'cut', followed by a whirring and clicking sound as the crane moves to reposition a camera roughly the size of a small fridge. Glaring light flashes across the face of its vast spinning lens, whilst four crew members appear from the darkness to set up for the next shot.

This week, you see, we've been filming King Lear. This has been both incredibly exciting and unexpectedly challenging. We knew that it would be tricky to complete such an ambitious shoot in three days, but for me as Edmund, the real challenge has been how to take a performance that so often relies on a direct connection with an audience, and translate it into something that could be captured on camera in an empty room.

That's what we've tried to do. Things have been tweaked a bit, reinvented here and there - occasionally, we've thrown something in for the film that simply doesn't happen in the live show - but I think we've taken the right approach.

Just as the Edmund in our play has a bit of mischievous fun with the conventions of theatre, the Edmund of our film does the same with those of cinema (again, this has been trickier for me as I have less experience of working in front of a camera- but boy, have I had fun trying).

So, just as our stage production of King Lear is an adaptation of Shakespeare's play that aims to capture the spirit of the original, so our film is a reworked, but hopefully faithful, transfer of the show. I'm looking forward to seeing how it will turn out, and I'm delighted that the distribution of the film to New York schools will allow us to play to even more of the fantastic audience that we've enjoyed so far.

The little that I've managed to catch on the monitors during shooting looks great; it's reminded me how lucky I am to be working with such a talented group of actors.

by Ben Deery  |  No comments yet


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Teaching Shakespeare