The cast of The Malcontent, The Globe Young Players meet every Sunday to rehearse. Their Assistant Director, Tatty Hennessy is keeping a weekly rehearsal diary. In their last rehearsal the cast met the cast of The Duchess of Malfi and had a music workshop with composer Olly Fox.
Tatty gives us an introduction to the rehearsal and we hear from the actors, in their own words, what it was like to meet the cast of The Duchess of Malfi.
Sunday 26 January was a big day for The Malcontent company. They got to see inside the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse for the first time since it was completed. It’s changed a lot since they last saw it – a lot more like a theatre and a lot less like a building site!
We all did our weekly warm-up on the stage, testing the theatre’s acoustics with Eye of the Tiger blaring from the speakers. Every week director Caitlin leads the company in a gruelling circuit of press-ups, star-jumps and sit ups. An actor’s body is their instrument so we try to keep ours active and alert, ready for a busy day. We then go through our Elements: strong poses that take energy from Air, Fire, Water and Earth.
We also had our first meet and greet with The Duchess of Malfi company. They’ve been performing in the Playhouse for a few weeks now, so they’re the world authority on that space and were quick to pass on all their tips to our young actors. We watched them practise their jig and run through all their grisly fights. Globe Young Players, Guy (Mendoza), Amanda (Maria) and Ed (Ferneze) got to know David Dawson (Ferdinand), Gemma Arterton (The Duchess) and Alex Waldmann (Antonio) from The Duchess of Malfi.
Here’s what the young players had to say about meeting the Malfi cast:
“Being chosen to be a member of The Globe Young Players has been a total thrill for me since the very first rehearsal, but last Sunday I really couldn’t believe it when I got the chance to actually go on the stage of the beautiful Sam Wanamaker Playhouse AND meet the cast of The Duchess of Malfi who have opened the first season to such rave reviews. I was lucky enough to chat to Alex Waldmann who is playing the part of Antonio in the play. Just speaking to an actor of his calibre was extremely rewarding and in a few minutes I learnt some valuable lessons (particularly as I play the lover of a duchess in The Malcontent, just like he does in ‘Malfi.’) Seeing the theatre finished for the first time was unbelievably exciting for our whole cast – it is the most fantastic, pretty and atmospheric stage I have ever seen – but it was also nerve racking, realising just how prepared the ‘Malfi’ cast were and thinking that we must be like that in a few weeks. We have such wonderful people working with us though, I am sure it will happen.”
-Ed (playing Ferneze)
“Entering The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had. Being welcomed into a group filled with stunningly talented actors such as those within The Duchess of Malfi company has allowed me to blossom into the best possible actor I can be. In merely two months, we will be performing. Time has passed so quickly and I can genuinely admit that I do not want this journey to end.”
-Amanda (playing Maria)
” The Duchess of Malfi cast invited us in to a nice warm calm environment. I met my buddy David [Dawson] who plays Ferdinand, the brother of the Duchess of Malfi and he talked to me saying that we were both playing psychopath characters. I really liked him. David told me I could contact him if I wanted help with anything. I also met Gemma Arterton; she said hello to me and asked how I was. All the cast seemed so relaxed and friendly and I found out they do the same warm-ups as Globe Young Players and enjoy fun and games. They performed a song from the play which was amazing and it sent chills down my spine. ”
-Guy (playing Mendoza)
In the afternoon we were joined by the wonderful Olly Fox, our composer and musical director. Everybody brought their instruments and Olly led the company in some multi-instrumental improvisations, before teaching them a song for the show. Here’s more comments from some of the company:
“On Sunday afternoon, we did some music with Olly Fox, the composer of our play. We started with a warm-up, where, once we had got the hang of it, Olly would challenge us one by one to see how high or low we could sing. We then did some improvisation, where we sang about the action ‘cunning’, afterwards, we got out our instruments, and did some more improvisations over the actions ‘love’ and ‘seduce’! Once we had finished this, we moved on to singing a song that Olly had composed for us; it takes place in a scene where one of the characters asks the page to sing of the nature of women. The song was really fun to sing, and I think it will be very funny in the play!”
“We had our second music workshop with Olly Fox. It started with a group activity when we had to make a vocal ensemble surrounding a certain theme. Then if we brought an instrument we would include them as well. One of themes we did was ‘seduction’. After that we learnt one of the 5 songs from The Malcontent. The song is about women and is quite quirky and humorous. After lunch, we got our instruments out and were asked to play a couple of songs to ‘show off’. I played two songs on my ukulele, and it was fun to hear what other people could do. I can’t wait to do it again!”
A little bit about Tatty Hennessy …
I’ve been at the Globe in a variety of guises for a couple of years now. I worked on the Globe to Globe Festival, the International Actors’ Fellowship and, most recently, I was Assistant Director for The Duchess of Malfi in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse.
There’s nowhere quite like the Globe.