I love working with Shakespeare. It’s how I cut my teeth as a student, and some of my happiest times were spent in Stratford-on-Avon working for the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Shakespeare’s work is always about transformation. How do my words change another person, or myself? Every scrap of dialogue is an attempt to transform the other. Every monologue is always a conversation with a silent partner. Finding that partner, who may be an imagined lover or enemy, or a suppressed part of yourself, is at the heart of rehearsal discovery. Every scene, every beat, must be active, transformative.
I began to learn this from Nancy Meckler at the RSC, and also Declan Donnellan in his great book, The Actor and the Target. I’ve developed the idea to become my own through my directing and teaching, and through lecturing groups of postgraduates, student and teachers on ‘Shakespeare and Directing’ for many years at The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-Upon-Avon.
In rehearsal I also find myself thinking often of the quote, ‘each scene has a game at its heart; find the game and the scene plays itself’ (even though I can’t remember where I read it!).
King Lear – scene study for Guildhall School of Music and Drama
Troilus and Cressida, Timon of Athens, Coriolanus, All’s Well That Ends Well – a series of ensemble reading of less popular plays
Richard III – Academy of the Science of Acting and Directing
Romeo and Juliet and Comedy of Errors as Assistant Director for the RSC
Romeo and Juliet – USA student tour for Cambridge American Stage Tour (CAST)
Much Ado About Nothing – student production
A Midsummer Night’s Dream – student production