Author Archive

The Merchant of Venice: Did You Know…?

December 15, 2014
MOV 364 - Merry Holden, Emily Plumtree and Rebecca Brewer and Susannah Fielding by Ellie Kurttz

Merry Holden (Conscience), Emily Plumtree (Nerissa) and Rebecca Brewer (Stephanie) in The Merchant of Venice. Photo: Ellie Kurttz

In preparation for Press Night, we’re brushing up on our Shakespearean trivia. Associate Director Lisa Blair has kindly collected some facts for you to impress your theatre-going companions with. In no particular order, here are 10 things you (probably) didn’t know about The Merchant of Venice:
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The Fever: Two Turtle Doves and Volume 1 of ‘Capital’ by Karl Marx

December 11, 2014
Volume 1 of Capital by Karl Marx. Photo: Rebecca Hill

Volume 1 of Capital by Karl Marx. Photo: Rebecca Hill

Now that rehearsals for Wallace Shawn’s The Fever, directed by Robert Icke, have officially begun, Assistant Director Rebecca Hill lets us in on why she’s spent the past month reading up on economic theory.

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The Merchant of Venice: Cast of Characters

December 5, 2014

Is Portia‘s suitor Bassiano or Gratiano? How do you tell Salerio from Solanio? We’ve enlisted some of the cast of The Merchant of Venice, who have helpfully described their characters in just three (occasionally four) words:

Tom Weston-Jones and Scott Handy by Ellie Kurttz

Tom Weston-Jones (Bassanio) and Scott Handy (Antonio) in rehearsals. Photo: Ellie Kurttz

“Narcissistic. Passionate. Social.”
Tom Weston-Jones (Bassanio)

“Disconnected, lonely, romantic.”
Scott Handy (Antonio)

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The Merchant of Venice: First Impressions

December 4, 2014

The Merchant of Venice is known as one of Shakespeare’s “problem plays.” Though it takes the form of a comedy, its darker thematic elements have troubled audiences for centuries. At the start of rehearsals, we asked the cast about their previous experience with and first impressions of the play:

Vinta Morgan and Scott Handy in rehearsals. Photo: Ellie Kurttz

Vinta Morgan (Prince of Morocco) and Scott Handy (Antonio) in rehearsals. Photo: Ellie Kurttz

“I played Bassanio at the RSC and Lorenzo in a TV version. My first response? Oh God, not Antonio – he’s impossible to play.”
Scott Handy (Antonio)

“A good discourse on prejudice and racism.”
- Vinta Morgan (Prince of Morocco)

“I was in this production three years ago in Stratford. I wasn’t too familiar with the play when we started – now I can’t imagine it in any other setting!”
Emily Plumtree (Nerissa)

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The Merchant of Venice: Restaging a Classic

December 2, 2014
The cast of The Merchant of Venice in rehearsals. Photo: Ellie Kurttz

The cast of The Merchant of Venice in rehearsals. Photo: Ellie Kurttz

Rehearsals are in full swing for Rupert Goold’s production of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. This production was first staged with the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2011; three years later, the production is just days away from being restaged it in London. Associate Director Lisa Blair fills us in on what it’s like to remount a production in a new location.
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Our Town: David Cromer Rehearsal Room Talk

November 24, 2014
Our Town | David Cromer Z

David Cromer, Rhashan Stone and Anna Francolini rehearse. Photo: Marc Brenner

Earlier this year, Our Town Director David Cromer gave a special preview talk to Almeida Members at an event in the rehearsal room. Speaking about the intricacies of adapting Thornton Wilder, working with British actors and bringing an American classic to the Almeida stage, here are some highlights from the evening.
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Our Town: Inside the Wardrobe

November 21, 2014
The costume rail for Our Town. Photo: Simone Finney

A costume rail during Our Town rehearsals. Photo: Simone Finney

Alison Siple has been designing the costumes for David Cromer’s production of Our Town since its first run in Chicago in 2005. Six cities and eight years later, we caught up with her during rehearsals in London to get the inside scoop on who’s wearing what in Grover’s Corners this season. Here’s what she had to say:

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Our Town: Talkback

November 19, 2014
David Cromer (Stage Manager) in Our Town. Photo: Marc Brenner

David Cromer (Stage Manager) in Our Town. Photo: Marc Brenner

On Thursday, 30 October 2014, we invited the audience from Our Town to stay behind for a Q&A with director David Cromer and other members of the cast, chaired by Assistant Director Rebecca Hill. Here’s an excerpt from the conversation…

Rebecca Hill: Hello everyone, thank you all for sticking around. I’ll start with one of our questions from Twitter, and then I’ll hand over to you guys to see if you’ve got any questions for us. So the question is from @amovietheatergoer: “What is it like to perform among the audience and mime most of the props?”

Richard Lumsden (Mr. Webb): Anna?

(Laughter)

Anna Francolini (Mrs. Gibbs): I know people find it kind of odd, but you just sort of get used to it. It’s more odd now when I wake up in the morning in my own home and I make my own breakfast. Crumbs on the thing and doing the coffee and you realise you are just relentlessly doing stuff all the time. So that’s what I do in my head: I’m like, “This is real, this is what I do.” But it is funny being very close and sometimes you’re reaching for, like an egg, or a knife or fork or whatever and you’re literally on people’s laps. I quite like it, actually. It’s very, very different.

Anna Francolini (Mrs. Webb) in Our Town. Photo: Marc Brenner

Anna Francolini (Mrs. Webb) in Our Town. Photo: Marc Brenner

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King Charles III: Behind the Scenes

November 12, 2014

Here’s a look behind the scenes of the set build for King Charles III at the Almeida (now at Wyndham’s Theatre in the West End until 31 Jan):

Our Town: Live Another Day

November 6, 2014

 

Sidney Cole, Joe Bunker, Laura Elsworthy and Anna Francolini in Our Town. Photo: Marc Brenner

Sidney Cole, Joe Bunker, Laura Elsworthy and Anna Francolini in Our Town. Photo: Marc Brenner

In Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, one character has the chance to re-live a day of her life. We asked the cast what day they would choose if they could pick one of their own. Here’s what they said:

“My mother was a singer. When I was a kid, I used to watch her from the wings while she performed. One night, she waved at me to join her on stage. Being a shy kid, I was absolutely terrified and nearly didn’t go through with it. Somehow I plucked up the courage and went out on stage to join her. Most of the memory is a blur, but what I take away from it is me and my mum, together, singing our hearts out and dancing our arses off. To be honest, I would be happy reliving any day with her – but this one stays with me because the experience was unique.”
Rhashan Stone (Doctor Gibbs)

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