Here I am in beautiful Portsmouth, staying in an extraordinary Maritime Club, begun as a home for homeless sailors while on land, with much history and close to the historic port and the modern shopping centre, with its iconic spinnaker tower. You may have gathered I am rather partial to the ocean, love to sail, walk/sit on a beach, watch the sea birds and creatures and of course the boats. I am sleeping like a baby here…wonderful. All that sea air.
The wonderful old small theatre Groundlings, home of our production, started life as a theatre and a school for lost boys in the days of the 1700’s by a man called John
Shakespeare…maybe a relation to our Will, he came from Stratford upon Avon, so a likely relative. Not sure the young boys had much fun despite being plucked from the streets and a life of ignorance and poverty. They could be ‘birched’ (beaten with a birch stick)….here’s a picture of the whipping post, boy(not real!) attached or put into the ‘stocks’ for the day for misbehaving, pictured here>
I am enjoying working with the people so much, some full time employees and some volunteers, creating amazing scenery, costumes, performances etc, all done with real love, energy and enthusiasm. This was how Shakespeare had to work largely “on the fly”, as money is short and actors, crew anyone can be pulled in from anywhere to do
anything. The cast of 37 characters in the play is being played by 9 people, men playing women (witches), women playing men and it all works…so long as you believe in what you’re doing/saying and the audience believes it, it works.
Artistic Director aka Macbeth, Richard Stride has cut the play to 90 mins…Shakespeare takes stamina to watch and listen to in our modern times and best not wear the audience out, or worse bore them. Macbeth is the ultimate horror play and we doing the horror full on and opening on Halloween, so I am looking forward to buckets of blood, dry ice, huge revolving mirrors. Should be fine and I am sure as Shakespeare intended, remember he was a commercial writer having to please contrary investors and influential audiences….not so different from the way we work today. Only the numbers $, have gone up!
We have our first night on 31 October, so friends think of us and wish us luck! More soon!