For some of us going to a festival is actually counted as work! This summer Globe Education and a small bunch of hardy actors are stopping off at two festivals - Glastonbury and Wilderness. As part of the Read not Dead On the Road series they will stage rarely performed plays by John Lyly.
Harper Ray, Digital Manager for Globe Education (and actor in the play) gave us an account of the magical trip to Glastonbury.
It was with a sense of excitement; and a bacon sandwich that the Globe Education team made our way toward Somerset in the early morning. Leaving the Globe drenched in sun, our van crept through the streets of London, laden with its precious cargo of actors, tents; costumes and sleeping bags!
The play we were to perform is the rarely seen comedy The Woman in the Moon by Elizabethan playwright John Lyly. Here I should tell you that despite knowing the title of the play, not one of the cast had learnt their lines…indeed they hadn’t even looked at the scripts! This was because this performance was part of the long running Globe series: ‘Read not Dead’- Actors are given their scripts in the morning, which is followed by a hectic day of blocking and rehearsing. The staged ‘script in hand performance’ is delivered by late afternoon.
The rehearsals were amazing, situated as we were next to Bella’s Bridge. Hundreds of passersby stopped for a peek at the rehearsal process and even a chat with the cast.
I had been asked to join our band of players in the dual role of digitally documenting the experience and acting in the performance. Of course the moment we arrived at Glastonbury we lost all internet connectivity. Being ‘digital’ here is a challenge to say the least.
My other role as an actor, was also an unusual experience. I trained and worked as a professional actor for many years so the prospect of picking up a script was both exciting and nostalgia inducing. The play was great fun and very visually led; a perfect festival choice by our seasoned director James Wallace [look out for more from him here later] Each planet was represented by colour and a themed costume accent. (I think you’ll agree I look quite natty in my red military blazer!)
The shows were the highlight though. The audiences picnicked in the sun in front of the stage. Children loved the colourful costumes and adults laughed at the slapstick staging. The audience didn’t even seem to mind that we were occasionally interrupted by Lindy hopping dancers, air raid sirens, a kazoo marching band and a wandering pirate ship… Well it is Glastonbury after all.
Join us at Wilderness!
More about Read not Dead
See Read not Dead at Wilderness (8-11 August 2013)
We will be attempting to live tweet from Wilderness (fingers crossed for good wifi) so keep an eye on our Twitter feed @The_Globe .