November 5, 2007
Kaye Playhouse, Hunter College
New York, New York
Notes taken in the dark, to be re-formatted...probably never...
Geoge Rylance obsessed wih the language, to the point where he would be hunched over the text and the rehearsal would be preceeding behind him.
John Barton also at Cambrdge, greatly admired by Nunn
Peter Hall had a "house" style, but it was based on the language and not authoritative—allowed for creativity
Peter Hall gave him the opportunity to direct his own show, with the condition Nunn use a pre-existing set. Nunn chose to use an all black set used for Hamlet. Did Revenger's Tragedy in black and silver, with Barton trying ton convince him he needed color, but he stuck to his instinct.
Grew a beard because he was so young-looking when he took over the RSC (27) that ushers would ask him to leave the theater, since he didn't have a ticket and it was assumed he was a student who had snuck in.
You have to do a Shakespeare play because it speaks to you—not because you haven't done it in awhile.
Was auditioning people for the RSC and got down to the last two guys in line. Kept begging the caretaker not to kick him out so he could see the auditions (a very funny, untrained one and a flashy theatrical one). Had no roles to offer them, but gave them the option of having walk-ons. The actors? Roger Reese and Ben Kingsley.
Titus is a play about a society falling in on itself and a man trying to uphold what he thinks is left of previous honor.
Used action replay in his Julius Caesar, re-enacting Caesar murder three times with decreasing speed, so that it became a kind of "hypnotic carnage."
Macbeth (Judi Dench, Ian McKellan) at the other place afforded the opportunity to explore a more intimate theater. The play was cut to two hours with no interval, and the audience was shut in, with the feeling of no escape. A heightened sense of evil, of witchcraft, and of belief. Actors surrounded the perimeter during the murder, making sleeping sounds so the audience felt trapped in a sleeping household.
Very nervous when he brought TOTS over, but was pleasently suprised by the audeince picking up on so much. Alls Well was a different story: Frank Rich loved the London production, and convinced them to bring it over. When it made the transfer, however, Rich wrote an article about its problematic elements, saying it was "silver streaked with grey and the audiences didn't come.
Barton really wanted to do a production of All's Well, but Nunn had never read it. When he sat down to, he stopped himself after two scenes because it's so exciting to simply beable to ask "what happens next?"
"A musical is an organism intent on self-destruction." Nunn, to Richard Nelson
Returned to Shakespeare with Timon. Believes it to be a draft, began by stripping it down to its skeleton and found it to be a play about acquiring wealth to gain happiness. Felt it absolutely reflected Thatcher England.
Did Merchant because David Nathan wrote an article accusing Shakespeare of losing his humane touch with this play and hoping ti would never be done again. Nunn's production focused on Shylock's grief, on the idea of people being pushed to a breaking point and being expected to back down and carried the idea of Shylock through the very end. Nathan then wrote an article admitting he was wrong.
Rufus Sewell gave a rendition of Hamlet's advice to the players, to which Nunn replied, "See? That's what i've been trying to tell you for years!" Also, Reese did Sonnet 105, and Reese and Sinead did a bit of Much Ado. Also shown were clips from the McKellan/Dench production of Macbeth and the aforementioned Merchant."
Letter from Helen Mirren, presentatio of medal ("oh wonderful")
RE: Video clip of Stewart- "Is this somebody who is going to say something very compromising?"
Stewart said there's nothing more gratifying than NOT having to do a mid-week matinee