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WOS Radio: Dromgoole & Cast On Globe's R&J

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Theatregoers at our sold-out Whatsonstage.com Outing to Romeo and Juliet at the Globe last night (7 May 2009) were treated to a post-show discussion with director Dominic Dromgoole and principal members of the cast, including young leads Ellie Kendrick and Adetomiwa Edun (pictured).

The inaugural production in the Globe's Young Hearts season, Romeo and Juliet, which runs in rep until 23 August, also features Ukweli Roach (Tybalt), Jack Fathing (Benvolio), Philip Cumbus (Mercutio), Ian Redford (Capulet) and acclaimed New Zealand actor Rawiri Paratene as Friar Laurence - all of whom participated in last night's discussion.

The Q&A took place in the Globe's lower gallery immediately after the performance and was chaired by Whatsonstage.com's Terri Paddock. Click on the link above to listen – edited highlights follow …

On the venue

Dominic Dromgoole: I came here in 2004 to see Measure for Measure  and I had a bit of an epiphany because it was a glorious night. I'd never been here before and like many people in the theatre world I had a sort of prejudice about it by proxy. I hadn't actually experienced it but I sneered at it, because the papers had told me to sneer at it and there was so much attitude about it.

Then I came here on that night and it was a lovely warm, soft, naughty, high, happy night and there were lots of people here that were delighted to be here and were excited about the show and there was a particular energy, an over-excitement.

Suddenly it all just made sense - Shakespeare wrote for this theatre, he wrote for the open air. He didn't write for actors being lit and the audience being in the dark, he didn't write for peculiar psychological interpretations. He wrote for something that was shared and open and broad and generous and wide and that is what I got here.

Penny Layden: It’s like nowhere else. This is an honest space, you can’t lie here,  you’re instantly found out.

Ellie Kendrick: A show at the globe isn't a didactic experience. You're not told exactly where to look and you're not taught exactly what to think. You can look anywhere you want to on the stage. You can take from the story what you like. It's not spoon fed to you.

Adetomiwa Edun: We're in the business of telling stories and stories are about communication. And this space gives you the most direct contact between actor and audience that there is to have. It’s the ultimate story-telling space.

On working at the Globe

Penny Layden:  It's really liberating. You're not limited by set, our lighting.

Rawiri Paratene: There are these amazing support structures around each production.  Giles Block who we work with purely on the text; Glynn Macdonald who does her magic stuff with movement; and Jan Haydn Rowles with voice. It’s a very special approach.

Ellie Kendrick: Like a Shakespeare university.

Adetomiwa Edun:  The energy is in the play, in the words and the words fly in this space. You just have to go with the energy of the writing.

On playing an older character

Penny Layden: I don’t think it changes the characters that are written on the page. I think changes the preconceptions that we have. There is no point in me trying to act fatter, or act older. You come from you, that is your starting point and you build out from there. He gives it to you in the text.

On accidents on stage

Philip Cumbus: (Describing a fight scene with Tybalt) Somehow we missed one of the interruptions and our swords went up and I got smacked on the top of the head with the pummel of the sword. And we kept going and gradually in the other actors eyes I could start to see their slight looks of panic. And then it got to the bit ‘a plague on both your houses’ and I could just feel blood pouring down my face and my first thought was, this must look amazing. I wish I could recreate it every time.

Ukweli Roach: I never realize I’m hurt until I go off stage. The adrenaline, you really don’t feel it.

On the music

Dominic Dromgoole: It’s all a bit of guess work. We know that Shakespeare brought music into his work much more than anyone had previously. We increasingly understand that he used it in a way that is very filmic, or what we understand as filmic.

Penny Layden: The instruments are all authentic.

Ellie Kendrick: You should see them, they’re amazing. They should be a show of their own.

On audience milling

Rawiri Paratene: Fantastic!

Ellie Kendrick: It’s rewarding when at the beginning of the play they’re not that interested and leaning on the stage, talking about what they did last night and then by the end of it you can see in their eyes they’re rapt. That’s the most rewarding thing.

Philip Cumbus: If they are talking you can see them, connect to them, look at them, and they react back and that’s magic. They’re not just a frustrating noise in the darkness.


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