2014 will see the Globe’s first ever company of young players make their collective debut in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse to perform John Marston’s The Malcontent. We will be following the progress of the company as the undergo intensive actor training and rehearsals under the tutelage and guidance of Globe Masters and their director Caitlin McLeod. The blog series will have a variety of contributions, from the young players themselves to the Assistant Director, and as in this post, Caitlin.
How did you get involved in the project?
I have known Dominic for some years and after graduating I assisted him on his touring production of Hamlet. It was my first real experience of the wild and wonderful world of the Globe and once I’d had a taste, I wanted any opportunity to go back. There is a very specific Globe smell and every time I came to see a show or walked through the foyer, that smell would make me wish even more that I could return. When I heard about the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse – the intimacy and the candlelight, I thought it sounded like a magical place, and when Dominic offered me the opportunity to direct The Malcontent and with the first young company, I felt like my wishes had come true. For any director, it is a dream to be working here – it’s a very special company of creators that make up the Globe Theatre.
Have you directed young people before?
I worked with 8-12 years olds writing their first play with the Royal Court Theatre in Peckham and directed Roz Wyllie’s CommonWealth for the Almeida Summer Festival with 17-21yr olds. So I’ve worked on both sides of the age bracket for The Malcontent, but it’s a new adventure with this company. Working with young people is a very unique and wonderful experience. It has taught me a huge amount about ways of working with adult companies – in the end we’re all kids, some of us have just been on this earth a bit longer than others.
What can the players expect from the rehearsal period?
Dominic and the Globe Young Players team felt it was important that we honour and reflect the spirit of traditional ‘training’ for the company so up until Christmas we meet as a full company every Sunday to spend half the day working with experts from the Globe on dance, music, text, movement, vocal training. We spend the other half of the day working on the text of the play. Therefore as well as creating a show together, this company are also being trained as performers of Jacobean theatre. After Christmas we will start focussing on the production and two weeks before the opening of the show we’ll have an intensive full week rehearsal period where everything will (as it always does) fall apart fantastically just in time to put it back together again for the opening.
Aside from the fact that was originally performed by young people what makes The Malcontent such a good choice as the first play for the company?
I had not read Marston before. And every time I re-read it, it offers up new delights. The play has everything – wit, satire, politics, tragedy, beautiful prose, lyrical verse, a cracking narrative and moments of real, powerful truth. It’s a wonderful exploration of society, hypocrisy, corruption and power; all themes of which young people are acutely aware when they look at our contemporary world. And seeing it through their eyes and their words, allows us to see it all the more clearly for ourselves. And it is fantastically theatrical which is perfect for a group of talented, energetic, creative young players. In short, it’s a play packed full, and as a production, I can only anticipate the wonderful things this Globe Young Players company will make. I don’t think audiences will have seen anything like it.