Week by Week: Week 4

Welcome to Week 4 of Playing Shakespeare with Deutsche Bank!

This week we have photos of the lovers in rehearsals (Act 3 Scene 2 - the lovers' fight) and new interviews from Russell (Bottom) and Richard (Demetrius) on their character profiles.

Also, following on from our set design brief last week, take a look at some of our favourite entries and see what the real set for the production will look like in 'Results from last week'.

Photo Gallery

Results from last week

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.

Check out the results from last week's set brief...

Backstage Blog

Monday 13th February 1.00pm

This morning we have been working on Act 3 Scene 2 with the actors playing the lovers (Hermia, Helena, Demetrius and Lysander). It’s exciting as we are trying out some costume. In our version the actors are wearing school uniforms, which show their age and helps the audience to understand them more as characters. The scene is really fast paced and Shakespeare’s rhyming verse is being spoken really quickly in these scenes. The director urges actors to slow down their delivery of the lines and connect with each other more often. He reminds them to let Shakespeare’s words guide their movement. The director is also keen to remind the characters of their ‘wants’ in this scene. For example, Demetrius wants to protect Helena, and this should be running through his mind throughout the whole scene.

When the actors try the scene again they speak the verse slowly, concentrating on the detail within each scene. Again and again the director reminds them how aggressive the language is when the characters insult each other. Words such as ‘Puppet’, ‘Painted Maypole’ and ‘Canker blossom’ are some of the nastiest things one could say to a friend in Shakespeare’s time. By the time we break for lunch, the actors have grasped how nasty these insults are. It’s really time for a break as the scene has transformed into a proper spiteful fight out in the woods!

From The Rehearsal Room

Wednesday 15th February 11.50am

We started today by looking at part of the lovers scenes, it’s the moment when Hermia and Helena begin to argue. The actors really enjoy the fighting. Lysander and Demetrius are always attempting to protect Helena, but take a huge beating from the outraged Hermia. The sequence is very funny as the guys take quite a bruising. The action supports the nasty, insulting language in the scene. They go over different fighting options for nearly an hour. It verges on professional wrestling at times, and I’m sure it will look great on stage.

From The Rehearsal Room

Thursday 16th February 2.45pm

Today we are rehearsing the scene where Titania falls in love with donkey-headed Bottom. Emma, who plays Titania, performs the scene with a truthful passion which balances wonderfully against the stupid, loud and hilarious performance by Russell, who plays Bottom. This scene is all about playing it as a potentially real scenario, so it becomes all the more tragically funny as the Fairy Queen is made to look like an idiot! At this point in the rehearsal process the portrayals of the characters are really moving very quickly as the actors get to grips with the lines and the emotions. Russell's portrayal of Bottom has started to take the shape of a likeable London wheeler-dealer, which is great to watch and really funny.

From The Rehearsal Room