And that’s a wrap on another week. Only one four-day-week left in Deptford till we depart for our new home at Southwark Playhouse.
We spent the morning combing through observations found in French-Sceneing & the discoveries of dictionary corner. Henrietta had a great observation about timelines… Alsemero leaves his cabinet of dreams unlocked for Beatrice to find, and off he goes gallivanting in the park. He presumably returns to lock it at some stage. I wonder what went on in those two offstage moments. Was suspicion mounting? He had left his book of secrets dog-eared, his wife’s virginity was clearly on his mind in some respect. This intrigued me; here are two new pins on the criminal investigation wall charting Alsemero’s conflict of instinct/idealism.
When making our way through the long list of religious references, it became apparent how their frequency dwindles the further into the play we go. The deeper into the labyrinth these characters venture, the further they stray from God. “Here we are lost” - “You know not where you are.” References to the devil, hell and the occult begin to usurp all the heavenly metaphors heavy in the first half. The castle as a psychological space starts to be taken over by Beatrice and Deflores’ brutally Godless ideals, forcing Alsemero into their domain, away from his truth, where only madness remains. I don’t think he’s ever faced a foe quite like these two, he doesn’t even try to fight them like he does Alonzo and Tomazo. I imagined Aslemero and Deflores as Batman and The Joker. Alsemero strives for a truth higher than what the world, with all its sin and associated emotional baggage, can offer. Deflores laughs at what’s above him- “fates do your worst” - he revels in pleasures, happily shagging and stabbing his merry way to hell.
In the afternoon we began staging. Scene 1. We opened in a solemn, metered world of the Catholic Church. Infected by the musicality of this world, I mused and found it hard to get a pace going. Something wasn’t quite right so Ricky tossed this world aside in favour of something inherently more pacy, exciting, and in Jamie’s words, ’distilled.’ We ended the day round the table in a kind of Mad Men board meeting, telling this story how it is, as actors. More to follow on Monday…
Mylo McDonald (Alsemero)