“O, there be players that I have seen play, and heard others praise, and that highly (not to speak profanely)…have so strutted and bellowed that I have thought…they imitated humanity so abominably.”
Unrehearsed Shakespeare? Only learning your lines, and two words of your cues? No idea who you are talking to or how many people are in your scene? Does this sound possible? Crazy? Yep. But it’s how they did it back then, so I’m giving it a go now.
I’m part of the Shakespeare:Direct company with the salon:collective led by Lizzie Conrad Hughes and Dewi Hughes. Over the past year we’ve tried out scenes as workshop performances, but recently we raised the bar higher. We took the project back home for the first time since Shakespeare’s day, to the Rose Playhouse, Bankside. Read the article about the experience as featured in Shakespeare Magazine:
This experience has taught me so much about my own acting; it’s an MOT for actors, I say. It highlights which aspects of your work need further development, or sharpening. I have been concentrating on my verse speaking, which is normally fine, but when faced with the pressure of no rehearsal, and tense listening, it can go out of the window.
The company will be performing an entire play together soon (we’ve only been looking at scenes so far). Roles will be shared, but at this rate, I imagine next year we’ll be taking on full roles in full plays.