The Taming of the Shrew

Week by week

Week 3

This week the cast have been working through the play, scene by scene, and finding out more about their characters. Head over to the Interviews page to hear updates from the cast.

Week 3 Blog

‘See him dressed in all suits like a lady...’

Monday

Prepare yourselves. There will be men dressed as women. Of course, in Elizabethan England this would have been the norm. There, women weren’t allowed to perform on the stage so all the female characters were played by boys and young men. Audiences would’ve been used to seeing men wearing women’s clothing, full make-up and wigs and adopting women’s voices. There was no alternative. Nowadays, it’s not illegal for women to be actors (thank God) so women can play the female characters. However, we have a couple of moments in this production where some of the guys will be in drag. I won’t give too much away, or tell you why. Watch the show and make your own judgement. What does it enhance? What perceptions of gender does it play with?

by Pieter Lawson (Assistant Director)

 

Tuesday

The company have had a couple of rehearsal sessions with theatre vocal coach Michael Elliot to get them up to strength and ready to play the Globe space. To the outside eye, watching actors warm up and have vocal training is a bizarre thing. Strange noises fill the air as their voices are stretched and pulled high and low. They are encouraged to ‘float like a butterfly’ Muhammad Ali-style whilst loudly humming different notes from a scale. Time is spent on all fours like a cat, rolling the spine around releasing sound on ‘ffffff’ and ‘vvvvvv’ sounds. All of this is designed to strengthen and enrich the actors’ voices. The Globe Theatre is deceptively large. As an audience member it feels very intimate. Everyone is pretty close to the stage whether standing or sitting, but it does fit 1500 people. The actors have got to work incredibly hard to vocally fill the theatre without sounding like they’re just shouting, so all the voice training and warm ups are really important. However weird they look... If you’re coming to see the show you might get to witness some of the weirdness as there’s a chance the actors may already be in the space warming up in full view of the audience. 

by Pieter Lawson (Assistant Director)

 

Wednesday

Always exciting to rehearse in any production are the fights. Globe regular Kev McCurdy came in to run a session today. Kev has possibly the coolest career in the world. He’s a fight director. His job is to choreograph fights and to make them look as violent and realistic as possible, whilst keeping the actors safe and free from harm. The Taming of the Shrew has quite a few moments of violence in it and Kev worked intensely with the company for an afternoon, carefully creating  sequences that the actors were comfortable performing and that look dangerous to the audience. Choreographing fights in a show is actually really similar to choreographing dance. Safety is key, so you work really slowly, working out where to place to punches, kicks, slaps and ear pulls so that they look realistic whilst not harming the actors in the slightest. When the sequence is finished, the actors involved slowly start to run the moves over and over, getting their bodies to remember it. When they’re more confident they build up speed, eventually getting up to performance level. Fight rehearsals are often the most fun. Rolling around on the floor, pretending to kick the living daylights out of each other, but still smiling and laughing when it’s all done.

by Pieter Lawson (Assistant Director)

 

Thursday

We have also choreographed a bizarre wedding sequence, mashing up a cheesy love song and a fight involving the entire company that wouldn’t be out of place in a saloon from a Wild West film. More songs have been learnt, puppetry skills have been honed, and there have been lots of conversations about how best Alex Gaumond (Petruchio) might be eaten by a bed. It will all become clear when you watch the show. I promise...

by Pieter Lawson (Assistant Director)

 

Friday

More next week when we go into our last few days of rehearsal before moving into the theatre.

by Pieter Lawson (Assistant Director)

NEW BRIEF AVAILABLE – Design the 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.

The designer for The Taming of the Shrew, Michael Pavelka, has been asked to design a set for the production. To do this, he used a creative brief and talked with director Jacqueline Defferary about what themes are important to him in this production.

Why not have a go at the creative brief and design your own set for The Taming of the Shrew? To help inspire you, visit the Interviews page to hear some of Michael's ideas about the play and read some top tips for designing a set below.

1. Work in whatever way you feel most comfortable using the techniques that work best for you – if you don’t enjoy drawing, spend more of your time making 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 support 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 so huge 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 themes 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 on the right. Once you are done email your creations to us at youngcreatives@shakespearesglobe.com and we may feature it on the site.