I was lucky in my part as it was juts big enough to learn without
having to spend hours and hours looking over my script. I had much more
important things to do like nothing…
I felt sorry for Freddie and Richard Mylles (and you won't hear me
admitting that too often !!!) who I saw constantly with their heads in
their scripts whenever they had any free time. I could see why they had
to do it though, as we did only have a matter of two weeks to learn a
Shakespeare play albeit abridged.
Looking back at the whole process now, I realised that it was farcical.
We were constantly being moaned at by Dr. Pidoux and ridiculed by Mr.
Warr for falling on lines. They seemed to concentrate more on actors
reciting words para-fashion than on actors being able to develop a
character within the lines they had been given.
That is too say, that we shouldn't have been put under all of the stress
of learning our lines word for word, but to get a very knowledgeable
'gist' (for want of a better term) of the words, and developing a
character by playing around with what the script actually says.
I know that this is allowed as it is often seen in Kenneth Brannagh's
gruelling versions of Shakespeare plays and also in RSC productions. But
again, I can only ask, was it Pidoux and Warr being 1950 directors?
Then, after the horrible time that was the rehearsal progress had come
to an end, all of the actors were so very nervous that the tension back
stage (which actually wasn't back stage, but outdoors) was immense.
Although we had had a dress rehearsal/technical run the day before, with
members of the 20-20 crew watching (and talking putting some actors off)
it did nothing to calm our nerves.
I know from experience that if the tension backstage is as strong as
it was there, then it means that there hasn't been enough time to
rehearsal or too much pressure placed upon the actors. This could create
a mediocre play.
We were reassured by Dr. Pidoux and Mr. Warr not to be nervous and that
everything would be O.K. it's alright them being nice to us now at the
end of the process, but if they were like that at the beginning, and as
helpful/supporting as they were before the show, then we would not have
been devoured in the tension in which we were.
Nevertheless, the performance went well.
No major slip up of lines, no missed cues, no late on-comers, and
only a few problems with costumes.
For instance, as I sat down on the stage on the day before, I split
my 'dress' all the way up the front and was clearly showing my Kings
School customary 'Y-Fronts'.
This problem was solved by the seamstress (who can be seen on the first
episode of That'll Teach 'Em handing out uniforms to pupils) The
seamstress also rather helpfully sewed my (suspiciously phallic looking)
lion's tail to the back of my costume, in a moment of memory lapse and
forgetting that at the beginning of my play, I am not in fact a lion…
The main thing I got out of doing this play in Kings is never to work in
a play if the director is going to direct like they are living in the
50's (nor if there are two directors!) and a great laugh back-stage with
my lion's tail antics…
Back to the home page click here