Tatty introduces another rehearsal diary instalment for the Globe Young Players, cast of The Malcontent…

Another busy week for team Malcontent. On Sunday morning director Caitlin took half of the group to continue working on scenes, getting under the skin of the language with our text associate Anna. They also started to play with blocking and movement. The playhouse itself is a unique space with unique demands – the audience are all around you, sometimes directly above you, so we’re trying to get the idea of a 360 degree space into our bones as early as we can.

The rest of the company came with me for a morning of devising in the Playhouse itself. In The Malcontent, Duke Pietro and his courtiers take part in a hunt, so we spent the morning brainstorming ideas of how we could represent the hunt onstage.

Now we hand over to the cast themselves as they reflect on the rehearsal….

Toby (playing Page and Epilogue)

“This Sunday some of us went back to the wonderful Sam Wanamaker Playhouse to work on a scene that we would be creating; “The Hunt” scene. We sat down in a circle and thought about what emotions, actions and thoughts would be going through the hunter, the hunted and the hunting dog and then wrote them down on a post-it note and stuck them around the stage. We then picked up the post-it closest to us and we had to act out whatever was on it, for example: fear, escape and sniffing. We then split into groups and made our own hunting scenes with the hunter spotting the game, the dog going after it and then the hunter killing the game, and to add to the suspense we created the sounds of the forest.”

In the afternoon the company tried out a different stage altogether – The Globe itself. We wrapped up warm but the cold was quickly banished by a movement workshop with Globe Movement Associate Glynn MacDonald.

Curtis (playing Ferrardo) describes the workshop with Glynn:

“On Sunday I arrived at the workshop feeling tired and unengaged. When I left a few hours later, I felt totally conscious of the world around me. The activity which was the most compelling was when Glynn asked us to feel the immense power of nature around us, gravity forcing us down and the floor pushing us up.

Soon, after running and spinning around in circles looking at the sky and the floor, I actually began to feel this overwhelming force of nature that exists around us. It made me realise how lucky and fortunate we are to exist. But it also made me realise that we as players are harnessing this unending power, sharing and giving it away. This location where I’m standing, the centre of the Globe, has seen so many thousands of performances it’s insane – feeling the history behind this place makes you feel at peace, complete and alive.”

Freya (playing Passarello) describes the workshop with Glynn:

“After a huddled gathering in the tiring house to help us regroup with Glynn McDonald and focus our minds and energy back, we took a deep breath and then power-walked through and onto the Globe stage. With the beat of Glynn’s earthy drum as our guide, we all shared that ecstatic feeling every actor embodies when entering the open round; it’s like being hit by a wall of powerful emotion. Excitement fills your veins, love for your audience circulates your heart and unlimited power projects out of your feet and head. In fact this feeling of physical projection was defined to us by the wonderful Glynn as she led us walking around the stage…

Whilst we were walking amongst our fellow players with authority beaming out from top to bottom, Glynn pointed out two places on the stage that held great power. A fading black stain marked the power point underneath the fly hatch, and beyond, at the very edge of the stage, the centre of the Globe, marked the sort of projection-energy-focus spot. As the centre of the Globe is a very daunting yet thrilling area in which to be standing, Glynn told us to imagine that our bodies and minds are “plugged-in” at this power point, giving us the fire needed to set us off for the middle, the “sweet spot”.

Glynn then explained to us the connection between the rhythm of Iambic Pentameter (what most plays of the time were spoken in) and the action of galloping. So, we galloped! Gal-loped across the stage and around the stage, following the dot-to-dot trail of electricity to the “sweet spot”, the secret that Glynn had revealed to us. With our imaginary horses named, we were off, grounding our stomping feet into the oak below and filling the space with triumphant noise.

As members of the public wandered in and out, and with the constant reminder of what’s physically beneath and above us, we presented Glynn’s much-loved stretching exercise called ‘Earth, Water, Fire, Air’. Each element representing an awakening of the vital parts of our bodies’ ingredients: our bones, fluids, nerves and everything in between.

As the hour session with Glynn came to an end, we were left with the enlightening wisdom of the words:

“I take from the heavens all that I need and I bring it into me. I take from the earth all that I need and I bring it into me. And once I’ve got it in me, I give it away!”

This was a good day.”

Catch up with last week’s rehearsal diary

26 January 2014