‘Ooh la la’, ‘hohehon’ oh sorry! I’m just practising my french for todays rehearsals as we were to begin with the scene where Katherine, the daughter of the King of France, is trying to learn English from her ladies in waiting (all of whom she calls Alice). The scene is a brilliant light relief from the more meatier and heavier scenes and the actress (also called Katherine) who plays the French Kings daughter, delivers it perfectly, playing on Katherine’s honest naivety as she gets most of the words wrong, rather than playing for the laughs. Our accents are all rather…interesting at the moment but we are working hard at our pronunciation. However, I feel that the English trying to be French, trying and failing to learn English was Shakespeare having a bit of a chuckle! I feel It actually adds to the scene as it is all very tongue in cheek. It’s going to be great fun playing a frustrated lady in waiting trying to get her jobs done with Katherine constantly getting in the way.
We managed to get through quite a lot of the text today. We worked through the scenes where the King of France finally manages to make a decision (hurrah!) and sends the order to fight the English, the scene where the Herald to the French King, Montjoy, is sent to Henry V to frighten her into turning herself in to the French for ransom and where Henry disguises herself as A Welshman and moves amongst her soldiers trying to gather information on their attitudes and morale.
Throughout all of this, as the play begins to gather pace and the war becomes imminent, the characters begin to panic and everything feels a lot more frantic. However, we found this was making us as actors rush through the text at the same frantic pace which meant that a lot of the separate thoughts and important information was being lost. We found that once we put space within the words and sat back a bit within the text, the delivery seemed so much more confident and comfortable and particular stresses on words came out naturally. It’s interesting as personally, on stage, putting an adequate amount of space in the text or simply just taking your time can sometimes feel like you are pausing for an age as time seems to go so slowly and can make you feel very exposed. However taking your time, rather than chasing the next thought before you have adequately landed the thought you are actually talking about is so important if you want your audience to be interested and engaged in what you are saying. It also gives the notion that you are in complete control and enables the audience to relax in your company which makes a much more enjoyable evening for all!
So this is it. Week 2 over! As our soldiers get ready for battle, so too do our actors. We are psyching ourselves up for the final week of rehearsals. Morale is high and and the pub is calling, a bit of rest and a lot of work and then on Monday – the countdown to Performance Day or P(D)-Day begins!!
Have a wonderful weekend and prepare yourselves for an intensive final week in the training ground!
L.G – Signing Off Duty