Merchant of Venice Rehearsals Day 5

This morning we had the chance to warm up in the theatre itself, giving us an opportunity to familiarise ourselves with the space and experiment with vocal. Then it was back upstairs for the beginnings of Text Work. Each director does this differently, Lazarus take an explorative, ‘on-your-feet’ approach, often utilising self-penned modern translations of the text to find the meaning. Again this is done as an ensemble, with contributions invited from all the cast. Such an approach often highlights numerous interpretations of the same line, which can help or confuse! And that brought us to the end of Week One…

N P

 

Today was a good day but it was a hard one at that. It was very text heavy which is great and obviously incredibly necessary when it comes to Shakespeare. No matter how well you think you know and understand the language there is always another way to look at things or a clue that you have missed. Finding clues as an actor is one of the most exciting things about the work we do. But that is why text work can be frustrating because as soon as you find a clue you want to pick it up and run with it and become this new person. 
One of the nicest things about this show is the speed at which we have bonded. There is a huge amount of trust in that room and that in turn makes “failing” a lot easier. When you get up and run through a scene for the first time you have to play as much as possible and try everything out in order to find what works and what should never, ever be attempted in public again. A bit like throwing spaghetti at a wall. 
The bigger time waste is for someone to get up an be coy or think “oh don’t do that, it might not work” because then the director has to coax you out of your shell before any true work can come out. Again it was good to see that everyone jumps in with two feet. We had been playing with the scene where Portia, Nerissa and Balthy list through the potential suitors and before we knew it we had a parade of eligible young bachelors to ridicule. On top of that we had our costumes fitted and without giving too much away, I have won. I have the best costume I have ever worn. So much so that I am buying a replica of it for my summer look. 

JM

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