The Taming of the Shrew

Week by week

Week 4

It's the final week of rehearsals and the cast have started to add music, singing and props into specific scenes, as well as having sessions with Giles Block, the Globe Associate for Text. Giles is a specialist in Shakespearean text, and the actors work with him to fully understand the characters and the meaning of the plays when speaking Shakespeare's words out loud.

These sessions also help the actors get 'off-book', the point at which they have learnt their lines and no longer need to read from the script. The Stage Managers then have a 'Prompt Book', with any lines cut or changes marked. This also has all the actors’ movements written in it, and used by Stage Managers to prompt the actors if they need it during rehearsal. 

Week 4 Blog

‘Bid me run and I will strive with things impossible...’


Our time is nearly up. We’re into our fourth and final week of rehearsals now and everything is notching up a gear. At the start of the week, the company did their first ‘stagger-through’ of the whole show from start to finish. Not quite a run-through, a ‘stagger-through’ is a first opportunity for everyone to see everything that has been created over the last few weeks. A few scripts might still be in hands, some of the physical sequences are run a little slower than they will be in performance and the songs are sung acapella without the band (who join the company in a day or two). There’s no pressure to be at full performance level – mistakes are still allowed! Stage Management timed the run to see how long the show is looking to be. 

by Pieter Lawman (Assistant Director)



With most shows the length of the production isn’t so much of an issue, but with the schools audiences that will be coming to see this particular show, timing is crucial. You guys might need to be back home by a certain time, and you certainly don’t want to be standing out in the cold for hours on end! The stagger-through showed us that it was running a little bit on the long side, so Jacqui the director made a few minor cuts to the text to tighten things up a touch. Being given script cuts in week four can be tough on actors – they’ve spent weeks learning their lines and the intention behind everything that they’re speaking, only to find out that some of them have gone. Luckily, the cuts made were very small and everyone escaped relatively unscathed! 

by Pieter Lawman (Assistant Director)



The stagger-through also gave the director and creative team a chance to see which are the stronger moments in the play and which scenes might need looking at in a little more detail. This then informed rehearsal for the next few days. Fight scenes were drilled so that they can be performed more confidently at faster speeds, actors got together to ‘line run’ scenes and become more fluent with their lines, songs were practised, and a nice layer of polish added to the whole show. 

by Pieter Lawman (Assistant Director)



Friday and Saturday are our last two days in the rehearsal room and we will do full run-throughs on both days so that everyone feels confident and up to speed for next week. It’s all very exciting.

by Pieter Lawman (Assistant Director)



Next week we go into our four day technical rehearsal and we’ll be onstage every day in full costume, with all the set and props. If rehearsal is about discovering and creating the show, the ‘tech’ is a chance to add all the extras – lighting, sound, music, special effects, etc. Technical rehearsals can be quite slow going. You might move quite quickly through a couple of pages of dialogue, but as soon as you come upon a moment that requires music, or an actor to do a quick costume change, you have to stop and go over that moment again and again until all the creases have been ironed out. And then you move onto the next moment, and the next, and the next...  Technical rehearsals can be very tiring. Someone once gave me some great advice on how to keep your energy going through a tech – “Never stand if you have an opportunity to sit somewhere, and never sit if you have the chance to lie down”. Good advice for life if you ask me. 

by Pieter Lawman (Assistant Director)


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.

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