Twelfth Night at The Willow Globe

Phil and Sue grew this theatre out of this fertile ground. Ancient ground, lush and energised. Fertile from the sheets of rain we have encountered during shows in the past. Seeded with energy, with land magic, with all the extraordinary things Shakespeare was channeling. As we played the matinee, the sun hit our faces, lighting the stage before it lit the audience. That would have been thought about when the theatre was planted…

They talk about planting a church. A church works much like a good theatre. The Willow Globe is a powerful and fully energetic place. And it has been planted. It’s a nature church, a breathing performance space made out of living willow. It’s easy to dismiss Shakespeare as old fashioned, considering its well over 400 years old. But the material still lives. We just get exposed to fusty old traditionalists and academics clinging onto their first experience of it – which cannot have any correlation with how it was intended by the writer, outside of massive coincidence. People will tell you, in voices of absolute certainty, how various character names are pronounced, or how various well known lines should be delivered, or what various characters are like. The verse and writing helps with much of that, for sure. But my hope and trust is that the man who wrote all these lovely thoughts for his friends was willing – in his own words – to allow vox. Give the words to the people in the place. Let them run.

We ran. Sometimes we ran straight into a wall. The sun was shining at the end of the matinee and the jig was carnage.

My part of the revels today was Malvolio. A tempting one to divorce yourself from. He’s a creep. You never really want to be channeling your inner creep, but he’s a creep who gets to share his thought process with the audience. I got to do it with a safe company and in a magical place. Matinee show I kept myself safe, I think I did a bit of a heightened accent. It’s actually the accent I grew up in, so it’s a true voice of my past, but it’s not my true voice now. I’ve flattened it. I was challenged to cut the crap for the evening show. Fair. We wouldn’t be The Factory if we weren’t allowed to “bust” each other.

How dare you suggest that actors frequently use the matinee to warm up!

After the incredible bright and direct sunlight in the first show, the failing light brought electric lighting – “we are going to have to unplug though. Standing charge is absurd” The moon rose too late to light us, but it did rise behind the stage, so bright and strong. I got to see it from the new tiring house, built this year from a fallen cedar, meaning we no longer have to change in a gazebo. As I improvised cross garters for my stockings, I watched it appear. As I tried to teenage-seduce Olivia it was shining on my back, encouraging lunacy.

These guys, these friends, these hearts. Some of them are consciously channeling, others are doing it without knowing. All of them are various types of energy conduit. With the full moon behind us, there in that living theatre, we found a couple of crystalsharp moments of truth out of the usual hilarious boiling sea of chaos.

I’m almost asleep now in the big house. I hope next year we can come again. Always this is a true delight, coming to this powerful beautiful place. I will sleep now under this moon, in this energy, next to Lou. Good dreams. Good night.

This is from the safety briefing yesterday. Lou snatched a shot.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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