September 13th - 15th
Our second segment of rehearsals for "Misanthropos".
When we met initially, back in March a large chunk of that rehearsal
was about finding the voice. Finding the beat and rhyme of the text,
and unifying how we deliver Shakespeare as a whole. For example I don't do
Shakespeare the tradition way; I don't necessarily follow the pauses or punctuation
text (sometimes I ignore the rhyme all together, if I'm being
And while that can work on stage, in a film, the way we speak is
it would put my delivery in uncomfortably harsh relief. And I
only one who's (shall we say) 'unique' way of doing Shakespeare jarred
So Maximianno had to bring us all together, one voice,
and that involved taking the script and reading, re-reading and reading
again. And just when we thought we had read it enough, we
re-read it some
more. It sounds laborious, but by the end we were unified
(both in style
and understanding) with Shakespeare.
It was key.
You can't swim
till you know how to float. Yes, we did do some blocking,
moments, but the focus in March was unification of voice.
This time, in September, it's a whole other ballgame, gurl.
Game face on,
we got down to work. Maximianno showed us the blueprints and
of the set, so we had an idea of how the scenes will be
also began to play with the idea of ritual; the opening meal at Timon's
about ritual. Ritual of music, ritual of position, ritual of
of talking... so our movement in the scene had to be very specifically
choreographed by Maximianno. He knows where the camera will
filming, we don't; so every precise detail was worked on. And
its a long
scene and a key scene too in establishing numerous characters motives
personality. It can't be rushed.
A large chunk of Timon's feast is Alcibiades' monologue. It's
delivered, and even from the first read-trough in March Declan captured
intimacy, the storytelling aspect harking back to feel of Homer and
Virgil. Even in that crowded rehearsal room, with the sun
beating down on
us through the wall of windows, it felt like candlelight.
soothing. Initially I envied the "false friends" who got to
on yoga mats during the colossal monologue, but by the end, as the thin
of foam betwixt floor and actor got flatter and flatter; I was quite
be standing there holding fruit.
Another very ritual heavy segment was the Council of Elders.
gets to talk, it must be acknowledge. When someone wishes to
must have a visual cue. When someone cannot get a verbal or
for permission to talk, they must pause and sense the
And who gets to interrupt or must wait, or must get a visual cue is all
different. It's. A. Minefield.
And it's an intense
scene, so it's was a joyous acting challenge for the cast: Shakespeare,
fury, but controlled, measured responses and then we add on the
issue of who can speak and when. Loved watching it unfold;
but did not
envy the task. The best part of playing a servant is your
role in ritual
is 90% standing there, 10% serving wine. HA!
This issue with ritual... These are characters who were raised with
their bones from the moment they were born. It would be
second nature to
them, who they acknowledge, where they sit, when they sit, who eats
toasts first, when you leave, how you leave. Every part of a
(both in Ancient Rome and in many different countries through-out
aristocracy was embedded in ritual. With the Romans there was
issue of religion upon that societal construct of ritual.
countless deities outside of the twelve Great Gods. For
example, you had:
Faustitas, the goddess who protected herd and livestock; Devera, the
who ruled over the brooms used to purify temples (HA! That is
fact, people!); Summanus, the god of nocturnal thunder and Verminus,
the god of
cattle worms. Everything had a deity. I don't know
if there was a
deity of spilling wine and the colour of your toga... but there
and those in Ancient Rome would know these gods. It's just an
in the modern world can truly comprehend, so bringing that level of
understanding about ritual to our characters is a tall order.
so much of this segment of rehearsal was focused on that aspect.
For me the moment that sticks out most in September... okay, YES IT'S A
forewarned, but let me explain. Back in March, during the
first lot of
rehearsals, as I said earlier the way I deliver Shakespeare needed a
work. Not because it's bad (well, hopefully that's not the
it's just not unified with the others mentality. It didn't
flow the way
they flow or have the precise rhyme like the rest. And so
to stop me, a lot, significantly more than most even, to work and work
on my delivery. And as with any actor, no matter how
justified or correct
the note you get is, no matter how kind and generously the note is
upon you... in your head you go "they HATE how I do it, I'm
I'm terrible, I'm going to be fired; and I'm probably fat on top of
I would genuinely be going back to my friends houses where I was
London and saying "I used to think I could do Shakespeare, but
apparently I was wrong." And on top of that my role
still very up-in-the-air. I had only just be confirmed as
etc. Sufficed to say I spent a lot of March feeling rather
myself. THE POINT BEING: after rehearsing the final scene for
during these September rehearsals, where he has to cry and be
Maximianno watched the scene, smiled his big, proud smile and putting
on my shoulder turned to the cast and said "everyone, that... was
acting." And it's a horribly shameless brag yes, sue me, but
worked really hard to better my car crash of a performance from March,
is genuinely the moment that sticks out to me from September.
In terms of rehearsal I think September went very well, we covered a
amount of ground and Maximianno teased out the personalities in the
roles. Now it's all about nailing those lines and coming back
final lot of rehearsals, then... FILMING! Ah!