What an experience!
36 MONTHS AGO
It's been nearly two months since I arrived home from Europe, and what an adventure that was. Since you all were so generous in helping me get to the Globe, I figure I'll give a little belated run-down of how it all went!
First of all, let me just say how impressive the Globe theatre is. Before I went, people told me "it's just got this amazing feeling about it" or "there's something magical about that stage" and I rolled my eyes a little. Stepping into that space, though, feeling and moving on the wooden stage, I can attest to all of the things people said. The most prominent feature that takes your breath away is the shape, because no matter where you are on stage there are audience, quite literally, in your face. If you're on the side of the stage, where in a conventional theatre you wouldn't really be seen, you're right next to audience members; when you're standing front and centre, there are faces at ground level a mere one step in front of you. They're also at eye level, to your left and right, and above you. With the exception of the back of the stage, people circle all the way around you.
Across the few weeks that we had as a company to prepare our performance, a large part of it was also spent in workshops. We worked with some incredible tutors, all of whom treated us not like students, but like actors. It did take a little adjusting to this suddenly professional approach, but once I got into the swing of things it was impressive how much more work we could get done. Our days were full, from meetings and discussions first thing at breakfast to late night rehearsals or watching evening shows. We saw three professional shows at the Globe (Julius Caesar, Titus Andronicus & Antony and Cleopatra), on top of shows at the National Theatre, and I was continuously blown away by the high standard of performances.
As you know, this was all working towards a performance of our own, too. After hours of rehearsal and working (albeit limited in number due to our tight schedule) we moved backstage at the Globe, listening to the audience coming in. Nerves kicked us and we all quietly panicked as the reality of what we were doing set in. Suddenly, we were given the all clear and we marched into position on stage. The performance went off without a hitch, and I felt on fire. I played, amongst other small roles, Marc Antony in the well known funeral scene, mourning over dead Caesar's body ("Friends, romans, countrymen, lend me your ears / I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him"). Strangely enough I don't remember most of the performance, as I, like many others, found that I went into a kind of auto-pilot mode. The brilliant thing was that we felt so close as a company and so strong in our abilities that we allowed ourselves to do this. I do recall looking at people in the audience, picking on them, delivering lines to them and challenging them. In fact it was the first time that I've ever felt that the audience weren't just spectators, but completely involved in the play - something remarkably unique to the Globe.
On a more personal level, it's hard to decide what I loved more: performing on stage at the Globe, or bonding with the 23 others in the company. Obviously there was friction occasionally (put 24 teenagers together night and day for nearly a month and you're bound to get some), but not once did that stop us from working together and supporting each other. We developed a real closeness with one another, and this only strengthened our performance. Friends that I made through YSC will be friends that I'll hold onto for a long time to come, and I'll do the same with the skills and lessons I learnt.
Next year, I'll be starting an acting degree at Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School. This, like going to Shakespeare's Globe, is a dream come true. Ideally, I'd love to return to London in the future to work more with the Globe, but I'll focus on my three years in Wellington first. Thank you immensely for your generousity to help me raise the money that I did. I achieved something I'm still in awe of and will continue to drive me to go further in my career. Without getting wishy-washy (or have I done that already?), you invested in my future.
Thank you, and here's to the future!