Dynamic in the Rehearsal Room

Julian DeZotti

The "grotesque" representation of the cobbler's wife (Matthew Krist) in Famous Victories.

One informative moment in our rehearsal process came during the "playwright’s reading" of Famous Victories. The company had been working together at this point for three weeks. Before the reading began, Matthew Krist, who played Goneril in King Leir took the opportunity to address the company and to request that since he was playing a lady he would appreciate being treated as a lady. Apparently he had been subjected to a variety of unwelcome approaches from other members of the company and was tired of their lewd comments and pinches on his backside. The request was highly amusing to us all and was presented in a humorous fashion but Matthew made it clear that his frustration was in part genuine.

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Scott Clarkson

Scott Clarkson (Clip 1)

Scott Clarkson playfully remembers the atmosphere working in our all-male cast.

Scott Clarkson

Scott Clarkson (Clip 2)

He was then asked whether the 'boys' playing the women were treated differently.

 

Director’s Observations

The actors were very sensitive to issues of gender in the workplace and, as Scott notes, would not behave towards a female actress in the same way they treated Matthew, but, that said, the dynamic of our all-male company was still markedly different than that found in a modern mixed sex company. While the actors did not feel this affected the work, it is hard to imagine this to be the case. Scott observes that the absence of women generated a locker room atmosphere at times, and I would argue that some of this energy carried over into the shows and worked well with the plays as they were written. The Cobbler’s Wife scene in Famous Victories is a good example of where this was apparent. The representation of the Cobbler's Wife in this scene is grotesque, plays directly into Elizabethan stereotypes, and is carried by a particularly male energy. The opening scene of Friar Bacon & Friar Bungay is another good example of the same. It is in scenes like this that the "locker room" atmosphere described by Scott had an impact on the creative work of the company.

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Cobbler's Wife
John Cobbler’s wife in Famous Victories

The representation of the Cobbler's Wife in this scene is grotesque, plays directly into Elizabethan stereotypes, and is carried by a particularly male energy.