Second week of Macbeth in Portsmouth and I am just beginning to relax and enjoy doing playing this wicked woman who destroys herself with her own wickedness. Between trying to avoid being knocked out by the three huge revolving mirrors that take up the lions share of the stage, struggling with the worst cough and cold in memory and remembering my entrances and exits, all is going well. I ask myself all the time why am I doing this? Is it giant ego…. prove to myself that I can…. that I am not too old to learn and remember the lines? All of these I suspect, but above all….what a great part. I am truly grateful to have the opportunity to be in this amazing play and to be working in such a wonderful old theatre, with a really lovely bunch of people. I think I can say that the Production is somewhat underfunded and under rehearsed, another week’s rehearsal would have served us well, but the environment and the team of actors and support people are some of the most delightful I have worked with. Life often drives us to unexpected places and wonderful people.
We have actors doubling in parts and some of them helped to build the set, with stage designer/manager Steve, nicknamed Shaggy, because he never seems to brush his nice long blond locks….but a man of many talents, building the set, doing the lighting and then managing it all from the sound booth with computers and other technical bits. There is lovely Sue, who plays several parts, men and women, a highly versatile actress so good in each part. We have a couple of young men, drama students 15 and 17 respectively playing various roles and the list goes on…I do not doubt it was the same in Shakespeare’s day, when so much was “done on the fly” and most of the actors doubled in parts and other jobs. Shakespeare wrote most of his plays in taverns (bars) at night, where the candle wax was free and plentiful and many of his characters are drawn from the people who were hanging about…..
So have been having a brief respite in London, got into Waterloo Station at 1am after the show on Friday …nice bit of relaxation and it will be back to Portsmouth and more performances tomorrow. Hope my Macbeth, Richard Stride, who owns and runs the theatre is better…he had barely any voice on Friday. This nasty cold is travelling around us all and it’s none too warm in the 300 year old building with no central heating!
This week I shall visit the Historic Dockyard in Portsmouth where Nelson’s flagship The Victory is housed and the restored Mary Rose, Henry VIII’s flagship and other historic sailing artifacts. Looking forward!!