Tonight’s our first official TSTP performance, which also marks the end of my first two weeks here at Shakespeare’s Globe, and I’m in a constant state of exhilarating fatigue. On Wednesday, we started our sessions at 5pm, which should have been my cue to sleep in, but I found this impossible to do. I am by nature a lark; plus I didn’t want to miss the bowl of porridge I’ve come to rely on for a somewhat healthy breakfast. So after a failed attempt at post-breakfast snoozing, I took myself to the Tate Modern which is practically adjacent to Bankside House. This idyll was somewhat marred however by the groups of noisy teenagers that would invariably walk by while I was marveling at a Picasso. I’ve decided that I only like large numbers of adolescents ten months out of the year.
Our five o’clock class was the second of our three sessions on Movement with Glynn MacDonald. It’s difficult to express the combination of inspiration, trepidation, and hilarity that defines Glynn’s sessions. Suffice it to say, that this time, a few of us had to practice embodying our As You Like It characters by singing a theme song we associate with him or her while making a stage entrance.
From Movement, we went to dinner (where we all ate ravenously), then dress rehearsed the ensemble scene with Colin Hurley, and our selected As You Like It vignettes with the individual scene directors, or as Colin calls them, our “grown-ups.” Scene rehearsals eventually made it onto the Globe Stage by 11:30 and lasted until 2:00 AM Thursday.
The morning resumed with two hours of Historical Dance (Yes, this is different from Movement) facilitated by the delightful Huw Prall. Looking around at our group, I could tell that just about everyone shared my sore legs (from Glynn’s earth stance) and bleary eyes (from our starry night) but Huw had us promenading, threading-the-needle, farandoling, and surprisingly, perspiring in no time. Then it was lunch, followed by Close Text Analysis with James Wallace, then more Voice with Sarah Case.
If this sounds exhausting, well, it is, but it also feels exhaustive, which I love. Certain adjustments have clearly been made for our limited three-week time frame; however nothing feels distilled. This is a truly immersive experience in that we’re learning to teach Shakespeare through performance by becoming performers ourselves. And to do so in the Mecca of Shakespearean performance, which is peopled with such talented, hard-working, generous, and yes, demanding administrators and practitioners, is an indescribable experience. For tonight though, in Irving Berlin’s words, “Let’s go on with the show!”