I mean, it's just a very big ask of anybody. But, in order to continue to function, Brutus is self-deluded to a certain extent. BOGAEV: Well, we should make it clear that in this production you have a dual role, you're playing both in the role of an inmate and an inmate who is performing Brutus. What the [expletive] are you doing back there? Just, either, get off the stage or do something useful on it.
Little [expletive]. BOGAEV: You come from such a privileged background, I mean, not to put too fine a point about it, that you'd look like you were pretending rather than embodying. Well, there is that real danger, and that was above all my worry I think at the beginning.
And without blowing a trumpet, just because I'm of a certain age a lot of the London audience know me. So I had to really take stock and think about, why might I be in a prison? And I looked for a political prisoner, because the heart of Brutus is so much about his passion for a fair and egalitarian society. You know, and she's Bank robbery? And she served a super long sentence, I don't wanna go too much in to this because this is a case that is quite sensitive right now.
A Case for Brutus Lloyd
Suffice to say that I and most people who come in to contact with her have been incredibly impressed by her. She seems to be somebody for my character to aspire to, and she lent me the kind of passion that I needed for this character, the percent investment in the play and its themes and how important it was to my character in prison to communicate these ideas to an audience, on what we're pretending is a once in a lifetime moment when you can do it, you know [LAUGH]?
We had Phyllida Lloyd on the podcast when this production originally of Caesar was at the Donmar. And she told us that you went to see her at one point and said, "Look, I've pretty much run out of road on the classical stage," and that you were maybe gonna give up on Shakespeare. And she asked you, what role would you take on still, and you said, according to her, Macbeth and Brutus.
Phyllida and I were in conversation and I had, as she says, I'd come to the end of the road, having played Cleopatra, there's no way you can go after that. I have Immortal longings in me.
Yare, yare, good Iras, quick. Methinks I hear Antony call. I see him rouse himself To praise my noble act. I hear him mock The luck of Caesar, which the gods give men To excuse their after wrath. How to be a male onstage without falling in to caricature. And not to act like men, but to be men. How did you think about that? And she will take us back to the dynamics of movement and why we move in certain ways and why we stand in certain ways. They feel entitled. Likewise men had the pressure—which was what I found so revealing when I played a man, was that men have the pressure to live up to the leadership challenges that they're given.
Those sorts of gestures, you know, need to be filled with confidence and egotism and ambition that are totally discouraged in women. So that we weren't going, "What do men sound like, what do they walk like? And that's interesting because you've written about playing Shakespeare's girls who pretend to be boys, as you say, and one thing you wrote is that it was important for you to find differences between all the characters, Portia and Imogen, and you say that you worried at one point whether there perhaps was only one boy in you.
Tell me more about that, what did you mean by just one boy? You know? Whereas when you get Then when you get more in to the character you will find that you'll get a voice coach telling you, "Actually, you're from Portland, Oregon. You talk like this, you're from this economic bracket," you know?
But to begin with you think I just have this one American persona. Similarly I think at the time, and, you know, remember, I was early 30s, mids, I hadn't had that much experience, and I feared that I only had one tomboy in me.
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BOGAEV: Right, and then you get onstage or in rehearsal, right, and you discover those specific characteristics of each character. You do describe something like that revelation when you played Portia as Balthazar in the courtroom scene of The Merchant of Venice. I mean, in a way Portia was the most successful boy of the three I played. I never played Rosalind. She has a masculine intellect. If you go back through the play you see that a lot of her arguments, they're almost legal and logical and analytical in the way that she shows herself to be in the courtroom.
But the other two, particularly Imogen—which is funny because she's such a forceful character when she's female—she becomes the most girly and vulnerable. And with everything, I'm afraid, you know—because one doesn't know where to start with Shakespeare—I do crawl along what he's instructed me to do in the writing, you know?
So I'll analyze, what is the purpose of this disguise? The purpose of the disguise is different in each of those roles. And the degree of trepidation is different in each of those roles. I began to find a different boy in each of these different people. BOGAEV: I do want to dig in to this a little bit, because I think it's something that people, like me, who aren't actors, never experience.
You say that Portia, in this courtroom scene, for instance, while you're onstage, while you're rehearsing. And you wrote, "I laid my plans, I thought it through logically step by step, but when I came to play it, I experienced it, and I learnt things about myself, and I'm sure Portia learnt similar things, and this added a whole other dimension that Shakespeare never envisaged since he never expected a woman to bring her experience of life to bear in the playing of it. So what did you learn and how does it happen in the moment of acting onstage that you learn it?
First of all, that Shakespeare has this magical effect that he does teach you, you know? You have to get bigger than you are in the first place to play Shakespeare. You have to grow to reach these characters, to reach the language, to reach the imagery. And because you hear yourself saying certain beautiful, powerful, extraordinary things, you hear your voice saying it, and you know your mind has thought it, it actually expands your sense of yourself. And, you know, I'm maybe taking a sidetrack here, but that's why it's so valuable to perform these things in schools, to perform these things in prison, to get women to play men, because these are people who mostly don't think of themselves as powerful.
And don't think of themselves as articulate or imaginative or that what they think matters. If you hear yourself saying these things, then you come away a bigger person. I can't really explain it better than that. And I love to watch the—.
Julius Caesar: Critics hail all-female production - BBC News
BOGAEV: And that's what you felt onstage, this disconcerting thrill of the power that she had commanding that courtroom? I would say Rosalind, who I haven't played, but I imagine Rosalind and Portia, they are people who have been missing out and find their feet when they're playing a man. But they also learn something about power which is slightly uncomfortable.
What I experienced was, you know, here was I using this articulacy, having this sort of verbal dialogue, cut-and-thrust with Shylock, and in the end I conquer him and I make him convert to Christianity, and I see him on his knees. For a woman who's never had to do harm like that, it was disconcerting for me and it was disconcerting, I imagine, for the character.
And you also say there's that layer, you have a theory really in your book about this, that when Shakespeare was writing, he was writing for young men who were being groomed for greatness, young actors, and they were the ones who played these women characters. Delivered from our UK warehouse in 4 to 14 business days. Established seller since Seller Inventory LQ Seller Inventory LIE Shipped from UK. This book is printed on demand. Seller Inventory I John Russell Fearn. Publisher: Borgo Press , This specific ISBN edition is currently not available. View all copies of this ISBN edition:.
Synopsis Dr. Buy New Learn more about this copy. The Treasure-Train. Michael Hearing.