August has been a fun and varied part of our year long adventure. Re-rehearsing Romeo and Juliet was such a beautiful experience. Seeing The Fools (George, Adele, Teresa and Nathaniel) again and being around their wonderful focus and passion and good-humour. I felt inspired by their work ethic, and their ability to make the work so much fun. Our director Damien Ryan is such an incredible font of knowledge about Shakespeare it’s insane to be in the room with him. He gives so much to his actors and his direction is incredibly specific, and he is hilarious! I just loved laughing so much….!!
I felt very lucky to have the chance to come back to playing the Nurse and Lady Montague. Adele as Juliet and Nathaniel as Romeo are just so easy to adore, I loved playing their “Mums”. It was wonderful seeing everyone revisit their roles, and to work as a cast of eight again.
Since our Romeo and Juliet season finished in Melbourne us Pooks have travelled to Hobart, which is such an incredibly beautiful place. Exploring the city with fellow Pook Paul has been a joy. Last week we went to Port Arthur – that insanely well preserved historical site where so much suffering has occurred, both recent and not so recent. For a place with such an horrific history, it feels extremely peaceful to be there. Standing on the green fields now you can sense the things that have happened there, and when you consider what people are capable of making other people do – work in chain gangs felling trees whilst knee deep in mud, lashing people with whips until they’re unconscious, sleeping 1000 men in buildings suitable for 60, condemning men to sensory deprivation resulting in madness for many – and the list goes on…. it’s overwhelming. Yet another example of our capacity as a species for “mountanish inhumanity” (Shakespeare’s Sir Thomas More). Our guide in Port Arthur finished our tour by telling us that if we learn about history we learn about ourselves. We learnt a lot that day about what human beings are capable of doing, and the strength of the human spirit. Tasmania is a truly beautiful and fascinating place.
This week we’ve been in Dubbo, Molong and Orange in regional NSW. More on that soon!
The Pooks (Belinda, Ivan, Kat and Paul) are in South Australia where Paul is from. It’s incredible to be travelling through this beautiful terrain and seeing how proud Paul is of his home state. We were in gorgeous Port Augusta today, then we travelled to Whyalla were Paul spent his 11th birthday at the navy ship exhibited on the highway.
After a brilliant time doing Macbeth Intensive for lovely students in Port Augusta, the next best part of our day was trampolining at the cabin park in Whyalla! I laughed until my stomach ached, and the sunset over the sea was stunning. The red light mixed in with rainbows was breathtaking. SA is amazing!!
When we started our year with The Players, we spent two intensive weeks training for the big year ahead. It was like Shakespeare boot camp!
One of the amazing sessions we had was voice work with voice expert Charmian Gradwell. Charmian is the Voice and Text Coach at Sydney Theatre Company. The four hours with her was so physical it felt like we’d been to the gym! And we got to sing which I love.
Charmian said we should sing in flow of passion without signifying the breaths. Everyone had to sing on their own which was freaky, but beautiful to listen to and we found out that our Resident Artist in Education, James Evans, has a sensational singing voice! You always discover hidden talents in rehearsal.
I’m looking forward to more voice work during the year, as we’ve got to make sure we look after our voices. We’d be lost without them