Week by Week

Week 6

Last week was the final dress rehearsal before live performances began. Have a look at some photos from the rehearsal below.

This week is week 6, and the first full week of performances. Check out director Bill Buckhurst's interview on Character & Audience to see how he thinks the audience might react, and also Bethan's blog post in week 5 about the first performance in front of 1500 students!

Also in the creative brief there are photos of the model Simon created when designing the set. If you're coming to see the performance have a look and see if it has developed from the model to a real set, and watch Simon's interview from week 5 to see how he designed the production. Why not be creative yourself and design your own set for the production using our set brief?

Week 6 Images

Nick [Bassanio] and Catherine [Portia] in the final dress rehearsal. © SGT / Ellie Kurttz 2014

Ognen [Shylock] © SGT / Ellie Kurttz 2014

The final dress rehearsal. © SGT / Ellie Kurttz 2014

Bethan [Jessica] in the final dress rehearsal. © SGT / Ellie Kurttz 2014

Ognen [Shylock and Christopher [Tubal] © SGT / Ellie Kurttz 2014

Racheal [Nerissa] rehearsing with Catherine [Portia] as disguised lawyers. © SGT / Ellie Kurttz 2014

Tyler [Lorenzo/Morocco] and Bethan [Jessica] rehearsing. © SGT / Ellie Kurttz 2014

Week 6 Blog

Friday 14th March

10 shows down, 13 to go! That's only approximately 19,000 more audience members. No big deal. We just about to finish our second week of shows, and as I reminisce about this week’s performances, an imaginary summer sound track fades into my head. This week has been the height of summer (in the middle of March!). We were blessed with warm sunshine, a flurry of excited students, and every show felt like a concert at a festival. I know it's boring talking about the weather, but it really is incredible how much it affects the performance. If it’s cold on stage we have to work that bit harder to generate extra energy, but what the weather affects the most is the audience reaction. We had a chilly day on Monday and the students in the audience were restless. It was a lot harder to win and keep their attention than it was on the sunnier days. That all sounds fairly obvious, but we have to work with, and control our audience, and I have started to realise that to some extent we can figure out what kind of show it will be by looking at the weather forecast!

That Monday was definitely our most challenging show. Shylock had paper thrown at him, actor’s legs were grabbed and occasionally I looked into the audience to be met by some excellent face pulling. I don’t think there was much of a difference between the accounts from 400 years ago and this show, except they would have thrown rotten tomatoes, not pages from our glossy programme (I think we have got it easy). In last week’s blog I encouraged everyone to let their inner 14 year old out at every show at the Globe. I still do, be it a paper tossing 14 year old or a quiet attentive one! It is the energy that we receive from the audience that makes the show feel worthwhile. However, when the energy is overwhelming as it was on Monday, it takes a lot of skill and focus to rein it in. It is like we are having a very sensitive conversation with the audience. When talking to our friends we instinctively change the tone of our voice, or our attitude to suit our friend’s reaction or mood. This is what we do with the audience. You have to listen to them, you cannot try and shout over them, you can’t tell them off for being excited or energetic, you have to be on the same page as them. Several of us noticed that if the audience feel that you understand and acknowledge their reaction, they are happy to carry on with the story and even want to know what happens next.

For example, in the final scene of the play when Portia and Nerissa play a trick on Bassanio and Gratiano, (pretending first of all that they are furious at them for giving their rings away, and then pretending that they have slept with the Doctor and the Clerk to get the rings back), the audience are the only other people in the theatre that know a trick is being played. In every single performance so far, the audience are extremely vocal, contributing to the teasing, and even making it worse for the boys!

When Portia says:
I had it of him. Pardon me, Bassanio,
For by this ring, the doctor lay with me.

The audience go mad, woop and wolf whistle. Obviously there is some excitement because intercourse has been mentioned, no one can deny that, but there is also an enjoyment in teasing and taunting Bassanio with Portia. This could get out of hand (and has in the past), but Catherine (Portia) has mastered the way she plays the audience in this moment. She includes them in the trick, looks to them for encouragement, winks at them to let them know they are on her side, and even asks them if she should give Bassanio his ring back with a gesture. By engaging them with the story at these moments of excitement, she is able to drive the story on whilst keeping them interested and involved. There are plenty of examples of moments like these in the show, and they are vital. We don’t want the audience to shut up and watch; we want them to be part of the story. We don’t want them to bubble over with excitement though, and it takes a lot focus to keep them with us! As I said last week- still a lot to learn!

From Bethan backstage

Creative Brief


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.

Read More