In the rehearsal room this week, the cast have returned to the text to plot character journeys and moments.
The team were also able to get on stage again, to start to ‘stagger’ the play. Find out more about what this means in our updates from Assistant Director Natasha…
Work continues crafting the costumes and set pieces. Why not put your creativity to the test and design your own set for this production?
Design Your Own Set
A creative brief is given to each member of the creative team working on the project. It is intended to help them structure their ideas and keep a focus on the director’s intended vision for the production, as well as what themes are important.
Why not have a go at the creative brief and design your own set for Romeo and Juliet?
1) Work in whatever way you feel most comfortable and the techniques that work best for you – if you don’t enjoy drawing much, spend more of your time creating a model.
2) When starting a new design, make a note of everything in the story. Use these to think about the world you are creating, and consider how the set design can give support to the telling of the story.
3) Think about the relationship between the actors on stage and the audience and importantly what their sight lines are – you don’t want to build something huge that half the audience can’t see the stage!
4) Leave things open to interpretation – once you have an idea don’t tell people exactly what you are doing but hint at certain things and let people draw their own conclusions.
5) Don’t discount things because they seem big and impossible; there will always be some big and theatrical way of achieving your design.
Now download the Set Brief and Template of the Globe stage. Once you are done, email your creations to us at email@example.com and we may feature them on the site.
Week 3 Blog
Today we kicked off week three of rehearsals by returning to the top of the play. We started to work through each scene for a second time, this time concentrating on the text and character journeys.
This involved a lot of work on the opening of the play and fine-tuning what the temperature of that first scene is. We discussed what the history of previous brawls could have been, as well as the differences between the two families which caused this division.
We also picked up the Prologue again. In our production, Michael has set the Prologue to be character led. It is spoken by Romeo and Juliet, inspired by the notion that souls cannot move from purgatory until their story has been told.
Today we continued working through the opening of the play, including looking at Mercutio’s Queen Mab speech in response to the dream Romeo has had the night before. Actor Ned explored some storytelling exercises to look at how the speech builds and Michael posed some questions:
- What is the purpose of the speech? How are Romeo and Benvolio changed after Mercutio has made it?
- What happens to Mercutio during the speech – how much control is he in? What is he trying to achieve?
- Why does Romeo decide to go to the Capulet party once the speech has been made?
Through working on the scene we discovered the tragedy of Mercutio and Romeo’s friendship is that probably neither would die without the other’s intervention – Mercutio convinces Romeo to ignore his bad feeling about the Capulet party and to go, which ultimately leads to his death after meeting Juliet. Likewise, Mercutio might have survived the fight with Tybalt had Romeo not run in.
Today we continued working through the play, including looking at the scene in which Juliet tells her parents she will not marry Paris. We played with the balance of just how much danger Juliet is in from her father – in the text he does threaten to ‘drag’ her and says ‘wife: My fingers itch’. However, there is room for interpretation…
Shakespeare’s plays were written down by just giving actors their lines and the line before they would speak (known as cue scripts); this means that full copies of the plays were put together and copied out slightly differently in different years and from different productions.
By looking at these scripts, it’s possible to find slight differences in the text that you would miss in a regular published edition. In the first quarto, Capulet says “…wife, my fingers itch” rather than “…wife: My fingers itch”. This shows that Capulet is possibly appealing for help controlling himself, rather than directly threatening Juliet.
What’s nice about Michael’s discovery of this for our edit is that it allows the actors to explore what it costs Lord and Lady Capulet to threaten to disown their daughter, as well as the terrible impact it has on her.
Today was Valentine’s Day and we HAD to celebrate (we are doing Romeo and Juliet after all….) The cast had arranged a secret-santa Valentine – so we picked names out of a hat and then had to get that person a card saying something we love about them and a present. In the afternoon we were working onstage at the Globe, so opened all the presents and cards there. People got balloons, chocolate, sweets and poems, and spent the rest of the afternoon trying to guess who their gift-giver was!
The cast also got to work with Glynn, the movement specialist at the Globe, who worked with them on moving around the Globe stage and connecting with an audience in that space – this included a catwalk exercise where each actor did their own catwalk strut. This helped to connect them with the peacock-like presence of lots of the characters in this play. This is about actors being generous with their performance, to make sure they can connect with the audience no matter where they are sitting. In the words of Glynn: “A humble man is not humble because he thinks less of himself, but because he thinks of himself less”.
Today we were onstage at the Globe – and began a ‘stagger’ of the play. A stagger through is the very first time you run every scene in the play in order and start connecting the work you’ve done together.
This stagger through was just to let the cast get used to the stage and to start playing the auditorium. As well as practicalities like checking entrances and exits, it also allowed the cast to play with each other and the audience, and to translate positioning from the rehearsal room to the stage.
The first three weeks has been about finding the truth of the characters and their story, but our final week will be about looking at how to tell that story on the Globe’s unique stage…