Whispers from the Wings

Visiting Stratford

April 25, 2012

Cast visit to Holy Trinity ChurchNearing the end of rehearsals with complete acts and longer sections of the play being run, the company work rises to a new intensity.

What actors have learnt and worked on in individual scenes, is now suddenly enriched by the running of a whole Act, and shortly after, of the full play.

This accumulation of playing informs and fills out both the performances and the production in a very exciting way. Though actors get nervous as a 'run' approaches, their performances get better and better each time.

We go on a trip to Stratford. This visit has a number of uses. We do some warm-ups and scene work on The Swan stage, which for actors new to the space is very useful.

While this is going on we are each at some point whisked away to a number of departments in the building or across the road for various fittings - costume, wigs, boot and shoe fittings. To the Armoury Department for swords, scabbards and belts.

We have a voice session with the Voice Department. Later we get a tour of the RST and then Greg leads us up through the riverside gardens to Holy Trinity Church.

Here again his love and knowledge of the Bard come to the fore. We are shown Shakespeare's gravestone, a rare copy of the King James Bible kept in a glass case, but opened for us. Greg gives another sparkling talk on Elizabethan and Jacobean Stratford and English history.

We are offered tickets to see Greg's well-received production of Cardenio in the Swan that evening. This is billed as Shakespeare's 'Lost Play, Reimagined'.

'What we get - wrote Michael Billington in The Guardian - is an extraordinary and theatrically powerful piece, adapted and directed by Greg Doran from a variety of sources'. I found it fascinating and had a really enjoyable evening.

by James Hayes  |  No comments yet


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Teaching Shakespeare