13 posts categorized "Post show Q&A's" Feed

Dr Faustus Q&A with Kit Harington and Jamie Lloyd and tales of slow-dancing and 'weird shit'

6a0133ec96767e970b01b7c80f05da970b-320wiSo I found myself back in the Duke of York's watching Dr Faustus again last night - there was a pair of £15 tickets on the front row so I couldn't resist. Following the performance there was Q&A with director Jamie Lloyd, Kit Harington plus Craig Stein, Brian Gilligan and Garmon Rhys.

Chairs were set up on the tiny bit of stage that protrudes from underneath the safety curtain behind which the clean up operation could be heard. Jamie Lloyd said he felt for the stage management team who had the big job of cleaning up after each performance (puke of various colours, soil, flour, poo, blood and food).

Everyone was in relaxed and jovial mood which made for an often amusing discussion. Here are some of the highlights:

Jamie and Kit were asked about casting:

JL said he has a list of plays he wants to do and he wanted to work with Kit so he sent him a couple of things to look at one of which was Dr Faustus.

KH said if he reads a script and then wants to immediately read it again then he wants to do it. He likes juicy, wacky and weird roles: 'I love weird shit'. In Dr Faustus he loved the contemporary sections of the play spliced with the Marlowe original. 

How do you learn your lines and approach the role?

KH said that JL likes the actors 'off book' and he looked at how much there was in the script and thought 'oh shit' so he booked a cottage in Wales, cut off from everything and 'spent four days pummelling it'. Then there was one of those pauses when everyone is thinking it but no one wants to say until JL kindly stepped in quipped 'but what about the lines?' Much laughter at that, naturally.

Once he recovered he went on to say how he didn't know what the premise would be. He saw a magician friend and thought it would be like the poster (pictured).  But then JL told him that Dr Faustus is just in his room, it's all in his head and everyone is in their pants. So he approached it as if he going through a psychotic episode, that he is on some big, bad trip.

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Some bits and bobs from the RSC's Richard II Q&A with David Tennant and Jonathan Slinger

To accompany the RSC's King and Country cycle at the Barbican there has been a series of Q&A sessions about each of the plays (Richard II, Henry IV and Henry V) with actors who've played the lead roles. The sessions are recorded for the RSC archive and yesterday was the turn of Richard II with David Tennant, the RSC's current Richard and Jonathan Slinger who played the part in 2007.  Emma Smith of Oxford University steered the discussion.

These are a few of the interesting points that came up.

On the context of doing the play as part of a series and how that informs the performance:

When David Tennant first played Richard II in 2013 it was a stand alone play but it is now being performed as the first of a tetralogy. He said that even though he's only in the first play he is now more aware of certain moments that cast forward to the later plays. There are moments that have extra frisson, for example Richard's warning that Northumberland has betrayed one King and will do so again. (He couldn't remember the lines at first to illustrate and chided himself as he'd only done the play before but when he did remember them got a round of applause. He later congratulated Jonathan on reciting lines easily nearly 10 years on).

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Bakkhai Q&A with Bertie Carvel, Ben Whishaw, Almeida Theatre

There was a Q&A after last Tuesday's performance of Bakkhai at the Almeida, freshly showered after their characters rather grubby ending in the play Bertie Carvel and Ben Whishaw were joined by three of the chorus - Elinor Lawless, Aruhan Galieva, Kaisa Hammarlund - and the session was chaired by assistant director Jessica Edwards. And these are some of the highlights (not quite verbatim, my note taking isn't that fast and some of the questions I couldn't hear as there were no mic's so have guessed from the answers):

Q What was it like performing a play that is 2,500 years old?

BC - It's not really that different from performing a new play...except that you have to trust that it has some kind of integrity. The tricky thing is not to not mess with it but to mess with it in the right way. With an ancient play there is a danger of being bullied into thinking that it's lasted 2,500 years because its somehow perfect and that the mysteries it has are because you aren't clever enough to understand them. But it is like a modern play in that respect, you have to trust that it is like archaeology, peel it back layer by layer and it gives up its mysteries and you might discover something no one has discovered before.

Q. How was the chorus devised?

Described as a difficult and complicated process. Director James McDonald had pebbles with their initials on and assigned them lines. They would then record their spoken lines and then the rest of the chorus would have to learn it verbatim so that each line had ownership. The myriad of accents and style, it was hoped, would make it sound more interesting less "monotonous and boring". The timing came with experience and gelling as a group, they just got to know each others styles and characteristics but it took a long time.

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Living the post Birdland Q&A with Andrew Scott through @polyg

I was figuratively and literally gutted to have missed a second viewing of Birdland at the Royal Court this week followed by a Q&A that included Andrew Scott, Simon Stephens and Carrie Cracknell. A mild dose of food poisoning meant I was confined to the the sofa but luckily @polyg was fighting fit and not only made it but has written a lovely detailed post about it.

Simon Stephens said Birdland is partly inspired by Bertol Brecht’s Baal, a play he doesn’t understand fully – he always writes best what he doesn’t understand.

To read the entire post including comments from Mr Scott about fame and the media head over to Poly's blog.


"Bollocks about the Pause" - Harold Pinter platform at Trafalgar Studios

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Director Jamie Lloyd chaired a discussion about Harold Pinter's influence on British Theatre last night with Guardian theatre critic and Pinter biographer Michael Billington joining actors Gina McKee and Lia Williams and playwright Nick Payne for the discussion.

McKee and Williams particularly provided an interesting insight into working with Pinter and naturally there was a lengthy discussion on the Pinter pause. Here are some highlights of the discussion.

Influence

MB Pinter taught us that in drama everything should have significance.

NP A lot of contemporary playwrights influenced by Pinter: Mike Bartlett, Jez Butterworth and Simon Stephens. There is a desire to let the audience find their own meaning. [Of experience with first play being stage] I was surprised by how many questions actors asked during rehearsal and initially felt I had to have an answer for everything.

LW Pinter didn't know everything about his characters and it astonished me as I hadn't come across that before or since. You can go anywhere with performing Pinter as long as you are meticulous with punctuation and your timing.

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Dame Judi Dench and Ben Whishaw talk Peter and Alice at Q&A

8718870206_c6a7699968_nYou never know which of the cast is going to turn up for a post performance Q&A so it was such a treat to get Dame Judi Dench, Ben Whishaw and Peter & Alice director Michael Grandage at the What's on Stage event. MG kicked off proceedings while the cast were getting out of costume:

How did Peter and Alice come about?

Met John Logan (who wrote Peter and Alice) while working at the Donmar. JL had wanted to write something for that space and Red arrived perfectly formed. MG said he and the writer had a common bond, had a good collaborative working relationship and good friendship. Logan had suggested Peter and Alice while Grandage was winding down as artistic director at the Donmar. He went to Dame Judi with whom he had worked before and she was enchanted by it. Then went to Ben and he liked it "So I got my first choices".

Will he throw his hat into the arena for Nicholas Hytner's job at the National Theatre?

"Flattered to think my name has been mentioned in relation to National Theatre" but doesn't want to run a building again as he's done it before and said there are plenty of talented people out there.

Cast arrive, Dame Judi is drinking champagne and Ben Whishaw red wine both seem relaxed laughing and joking throughout.

Why did you take the part?

BW said he was very moved  by the story. He'd had no idea about the real story behind the famous children's story and was shocked by the tragedy of it. He had an emotional reaction to it.
DJ "Michael Grandage read it to me and read it far too well and I said yes straight away." In 1960 she had been living in Eton Terrace and Sloane Square was her local tube so she remembered the death of Peter Llewelyn Davies [he jumped in front of a train at the station].

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BBC Henry IV part 1 and 2 post screening Q&A chaired by Sam Mendes

I was in awe, probably far more than I should have been, to be in the same room as theatre and film director Sam Mendes on Monday night. Love his work and there he was on stage chairing a Q&A with Sir Richard Eyre and Stan fav Simon Russell Beale following a preview of the two parts of Henry IV which Eyre adapted and directed and SRB starred as Falstaff.

IMG_0806I've already reviewed the two films, part of the BBC's Shakespeare season which they are calling The Hollow Crown, which were excellent, so this post is a few of the highlights from the discussion.

Richard Eyre: "It's my second favourite Shakespeare after King Lear but my condition for being involved was that Simon played Falstaff."

Other than cutting the words were never tampered with but he said added physical scenes to get around certain problems such as the fact that in part 2 you don't see the King for an hour. Also intercut a bit because you don't have the constraints of the stage.

Simon Russell Beale: "We vaguely put ourselves in the right positions and Richard would say just do it and I'll film principle shots."

When the play acting scene in the alehouse was filmed it was performed straight through without an "actor dropping a line". "The actions of the extras was entirely dependent on what we did. It was an extraordinary moment."

Sam Mendes: So why rehearse then?

SRB: "You can localise absolutely precisely. It's absolute concentration. I found it extremely pleasurable."

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BBC Richard II: Rupert Goold talks working with Ben Whishaw and Michael Jackson influences

OK so here's the Q&A from last night's preview screening of Richard II at BAFTA as promised.

Must confess that I hadn't been expecting Mr Whishaw to show up. I get the distinct impression that the publicity side of the acting profession isn't his favourite bit of the job.  He was a no show at The Hour preview screening. The only other time I've seen him at a Q&A (after a performance of Cock at the Royal Court) he sat looking into his lap, twirling his hair around his finger, shifting uncomfortably in his seat anytime a question came his way.

The confirmation that he was indeed at BAFTA came when I overheard a conversation: 'Is Ben in or has he run away?' 

He was joining Rupert Goold (director), Pippa Harris (producer) and Rory Kinnear who plays Bolingbroke on the panel. Kinnear was overheard to say to press on his way in that he hadn't seen the finished product yet. Whether Ben had or not is unclear but from a comment he made in the Q&A he didn't sit through it this time.

Anyway on to the Q&A itself which was conducted by bumbling Telegraph journalist. Here are what I think were the most interesting bits:

How it came about:

Rupert Goold - been thinking of doing RII on stage but struggling with how to do it. It's never been filmed before (actually it has, thanks @weez and @3rdspearcarrier, with Derek Jacobi in title role, think I watched it as an A-level student). Film is more about character theatre about dialogue. Not a huge amount happens compared to other plays and appealed as a film project in developing the characters.

Wanted to do a Michael Jackson themed RII and the monkey (King Richard has a pet monkey) is a tribute to that.

Never done Shakespeare in a historical setting but so much about kingship, crowns and chivalry that decided it would be best.

Shakespeare on screen vs on stage - different approach?

RG: Wanted to make the language clear and available and find a performance style that works on screen. He said there are a lot of big name actors like Patrick Stewart and David Suchet who have a lot of screen experience but also a lot of stage experience. And that is mirrored in the younger generation of actors like Ben and Rory who have also done a lot of both. 'They can do verse but with an understanding of acting for the screen'.

Ben Whishaw: It is different in craft as it's much more about subtext, that can be explored much more on film than on stage. The subtext is present more.

Goold on working with Ben:

There are lots of different takes on Richard and Ben was generous and we had lots of different takes to work with in the edit. His performance was multi-faceted and he gave lots of different versions. Goold started talking about the deposition scene as an example but then got side tracked onto the subject of shooting on location - nothing was shot in a studio.

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Grandage talks Donmar tenure and Tyzack telling off

36_Michael-Grandage-by-Hugo-Glendinning_570Popped along to the National Theatre platform with Michael Grandage this evening. He's got a book to promote except its not quite ready yet. Whoops. Anyhow, the book is about his 10 years at the Donmar so it was lots of talk about that and some other stuff. 

How he became artistic director at the Donmar:

Fell in love with space as different from three spaces at Sheffield where was already working as artistic director. Had two years left to run on contract at Sheffield and said 'didn't know what possessed me to apply'.

Was determined to see out his contract at Sheffield and asked to do both jobs but initially Donmar said no, later changed their minds so spent a lot of time on trains between Sheffield and London.

His plans when he started out:

He had got interested and excited by the European repertoire of plays while working at the Almeida and wanted to explore that further, particularly plays that hadn't been staged in London before.

Changes made at the Donmar:

Brought with him things he'd learnt about running a theatre while in Sheffield for example, Sheffield toured productions but Donmar didn't, neither did it have an education programme. 

He said there were a lot of producing theatres already in London but had a policy 'if we liked a new play we would do it'.

How the Wyndhams season came about:

Wyndhams season came about because Othello was sold out and tickets were changing hands on the internet for 'silly money'. Run couldn't be extended the because of the actors commitments. Around that time the term 'boutique theatre' was being banded about and  'I was accused of being one'. Didn't like that label so made 10% of seats available on the day and capped advance sales.

Talked to a lot of actors who wanted to come to the Donmar but thought about fact that only 250 people a night would see them. Donmar production in the West End with Donmar ticket prices came as a result.

"At one period we had productions in four continents so definitely playing to more than 250 people a night"

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Frankenstein Q&A: some of the Q's and A's

IMGP3343 This is an abridged version of the Q&A from last night's charity, post-show event at the National. Someone recorded the whole thing and you can listen in segments on You Tube although the sound quality isn't great.

Just to put it in context. We were all given the green masks to wear (as modelled by Christmas Bear below) as a surprise to Benedict Cumberbatch, Jonny Lee Miller and Danny Boyle when they came out. Didn't quite go to plan as the lights were down so they couldn't really see us.

Benedict has been poorly and losing his voice but sounded fine while Jonny sounded a bit horse so I guess he had played the creature. Benedict was drinking beer although Jonny did steal it off him at one point and take a glug. There was a bit of a bromance going on between the two, lots of praise for each other and touching. They are either good actors or have obviously grown close.

The woman from the world service, who lead the Q&A, seemed a little bit out of her depth at times (did cringe a couple of time but perhaps that's the journalist in me). Maybe she was just overwhelmed by the company. A few clips from the live broadcast were shown but these were curtailed so that there was time for more questions as the whole thing started rather late.

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