As You Like It Explored
Two unique events took place yesterday that gave us an insight into the making of the Globe Theatre’s acclaimed production of As You Like It.
First up was the Directing Shakespeare that took place in the Parade Tower yesterday morning. Director of As You Like It James Dacre was in conversation with director of the Abbey Theatre Fiach Mac Conghail about the production process for the play and his own relationship with Shakespeare. Mac Conghail started off by referencing the long history of Shakespeare being performed in Kilkenny (with particular reference to the Bickerstaffe productions in the 90’s) and how apt it was that the Globe’s first visit to Ireland takes place right in the Marble City. They spoke about how the show had come together in the rehearsal room as well as Dacre's particular approach to this particular text as a touring production. It offered a great insight into the casting, music, touring practices and reaction to the show with the extremely knowledgeable Dacre offering many pieces of trivia on Shakespeare’s own approach to the show in his time. The relationship between the director and the playwright was also explored with Dacre stating ‘I have to treat Shakespeare as a contemporary, as if he’s in the rehearsal room with me.’ The floor was opened up to the audience who took the opportunity to ask a variety of questions about production, process and playwright. One audience member went for an old chestnut and took the opportunity to ask both men what their favourite Shakespeare play was. Dacre went for Julius Caesar with Mac Conghail going for Hamlet. It was an illuminating, trivia packed exploration of the process of putting Shakespeare on the stage and how his work is reimagined for modern audiences.
This was followed later in the evening with the eight strong cast of As You Like It in conversation with Festival CEO Rosemary Collier in front of a packed house in the Parade Tower. A lot of the conversation focused on the musical requirements of the cast and how they approached the songs. James Dacre had stated that ‘You cast the eight best people and go from there’ and the cast subsequently talked through their own musical skills and the instrument learning they had to go through in the making of the play. They also talked at length about the fight scenes and physical demands of the choreography during the play. The background and training of each actor was also explored and a bunch of hilarious tour anecdotes were also aired, foregoing the old adage of ‘whatever happens on tour stays on tour’. The cast were warm, relaxed, personable and willing to take any questions from the audience. It was a lovely treat for those who had just come from the 2pm performance of As You Like It.
Both of these events offered a completely fresh eye on the Globe’s production and gave a great insight into what it takes to make such a wonderful spectacle. If you still haven't gotten your fix of Shakespeare at this years festival, cast an eye on Murderous Laughter: Shakespeare In The Minefield which takes place this Friday afternoon.