Whispers from the Wings

Written in St Anne's

April 4, 2012

Annette McLaughlin in rehearsalOver the next twelve weeks we rehearse Written in St Anne's Hall.

Very swiftly the periphery of our high brown-beamed Victorian room fills with groaning tables bearing history books, biographies, documents, DVD's etc. related to the world of the play, with biographical information on the 'real' characters.

Adam Nicolson's God's Secretaries which I had read a few years back was there, also Greg's Shakespeare Almanac published in 2009.

As the play shifts historically back and forth from 1610 to the fictional meeting between William Tyndale and the young Jesuit priest in 1536 and then forward fifty years to 1586 in the Yorkshire Church we become very aware of the physical and doctrinal changes along the way.

All this demands much research and reading to familiarise ourselves with these very different periods.

The walls fill with Bayeux-style rolls of lining paper with the dates, pictures, illustrations etc. of important rulers, clerics, Gunpowder Plotters, etc.

Tom King our Assistant Director with much internet delving unearths copies of engravings and paintings of some of the main protagonists. We actors find this extremely useful in helping to imagine and flesh out our characters.

Tom finds a colour photograph of a stained-glass portrait of my character Laurence Chaderton from a window in Emanuel College, Cambridge. Although very attractive it is a very anodyne portrait. Apart from the fact that he has a beard I don't find it particularly useful. There is no sense of the man in the portrait.

Photo: Annette McLaughlin in rehearsal for Written on the Heart. Photo by Ellie Kurttz.

by James Hayes  |  No comments yet

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Teaching Shakespeare