I expect you’re aware of the uproar surrounding the board’s decision at the Globe to replace their Artistic Director Emma Rice with someone more likely to create theatre the way it was in the Bard’s time (without snazzy lighting.) In truth, the Globe would need to do a lot more than rid themselves of the lighting to make it more authentic, they’re not even that close; The Salon:Collective, on the other hand, specialise in rehearsing and performing his works exactly as they would have been done in the day.
Last December The Salon:Collective took to the Cockpit to perform The Two Gentlemen of Verona, using the cue-script method, which is how Shakespeare’s works would originally have been performed. This means that the actors meet for the first time (more or less) on stage. Last year I interviewed Lizzie Hughes, who’s an expert on this method and is drives this project with founding partner of the Salon Collective: Dominic Kelly and Dewi Hughes, Head of voice Drama Studio.
When I asked Lizzie how they rehearse, her answer came: “We prepare. The process is nothing like what your standard play rehearsal process is. There are twenty-four of us in the cast, you receive your part which is your cues and your lines and you have three weeks to study it. You’re entitled to two one hour sessions of ‘Verse-Nursing’, with a director, and we do that, because that was how it was done. Any help they got was one to one. That was it.”
This year they’re back with the Tempest. On 11 December they return to the Cockpit Theatre, London armed with their own learned lines and immediate cues, exactly as it was performed in Tudor playhouses. Shakespeare’s players had no company rehearsal. Memorising up to 40 roles and expected to perform them often within an hour’s notice. Not knowing which actor or character would be in their scenes or what lines would be delivered to them, until they were on stage. Audiences relished the unpredictability, paying extra to see the first performances of each new play.
So if you want to see something authentic, different and relatively high risk, be sure to head to the Cockpit this December.
Dates and Times:
Sunday 11 December 2016 at 1pm
Tuesday 10 to Saturday 14 January 2017 at 7pm
Sunday 15 January 2017 at 1pm
Venue: The Cockpit Theatre, Gateforth Street, London, NW8 3EH Tickets: 11 December: £25, 10-15 January: £20 Booking: www.thesaloncollective.org/thetempest
Box Office: 0207 258 2925