Rogues & Vagabonds

theatre, film & tv past and present 2001-2008 & 2013…

Archive Interview • CLAIRE PRICE • Much Ado About Nothing • 2005

Claire Price

Claire Price

“It’s just like plugging back into the mains for me — as an actor I feel completely recharged.” So enthuses the delightful Claire Price about her latest venture for the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield. Price is playing Beatrice in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. “When I tell people I’m playing Beatrice they tell me how much of a favourite the play is and how much Beatrice means to them — it’s certainly something to live up to!”

This latest production is directed by Josie Rourke, whose Believe What You Will is a great success in the RSC Swan season at Stratford. Rourke has amassed a fine cast, with the new Artistic Director of the Sheffield Crucible, Samuel West, playing Beatrice’s verbal battle companion and love interest, Benedick. “I guess I get to kiss the boss!” muses Price: “I certainly was aware of that at first, but Sam is so generous that I soon forgot about that after the first few days.”

Price is very supportive of her co-star. “I’ve always admired him as an actor — even more so now he has moved into directing. This is such a disempowering business for any actor — it’s wonderful to get to the position where we can generate work — make choices for ourselves.” Price thinks West has made the right decision in starring alongside her as Benedick: “This is the first production of his new reign. This way, he gets to experience the stage as an actor — that can only benefit his understanding of the space as a director.”

As for Beatrice, Price says she is not so much finding her as “she is finding me”: “I don’t have to improve anything outside of the play — it’s all on the page — covered completely — I just can’t go off track emotionally if I play what’s written.”

At this stage of rehearsals, roughly halfway through, Price has already recognized an approach to Rourke’s directing technique. “The first week we spent slowly reading and understanding the play. She wanted us to locate it — to really understand the world. One way Josie helped us create a real world we all understood was to fill the rehearsal room with all sorts of props — loads of different things — anything the stage management could lay their hands on.”

“Then she’d ask the company to choose which objects belong in the world of the play and which don’t — we all agreed to discard things like sunglasses and plastic umbrellas — until we all agreed on certain things that made the world real for us. Because we all picked these things — all recognized them — this world now hangs together for us all.” The result, a company at one with the world which they inhabit and freed from anything but an emotional response to the narrative as it unfolds.

“Immediately we got up on our feet and started to rehearse the play,” says Price. “Instinctively we’ve all gone and learnt it, and last week we all as a group blocked through the wedding scene, IV i— a massive scene — and we realised we’d learnt the parts like the actors in Shakespeare’s time — learnt our individual lines and our cues — and just ran the scene. It was so liberating.”

Price is grateful that Rourke gives her actors so much freedom. “We are making the instinctive choices — negotiating a way through the play — she allows us our own spontaneity.” Price’s comments are reminiscent of so many actors who have experienced working with Michael Grandage. It certainly seems that this work ethic, this desire to work unencumbered by a script is spreading through the British theatre scene: “The script is an actor’s security blanket, and it is vital we get rid of it as soon as we can.”

Price respects the intellectual approach — “the historical context” to Shakespeare’s work — but is herself more interested in the “emotional aspect” of her part. “I once worked with Howard Barker, playing Saint Ursula — I did tons of research and then I went to rehearsals and Barker says ‘I’ve absolutely no interest in research — this is purely an exercise in the imagination!’. That’s what Beatrice is to me, another exercise in the imagination.”

Of course, Price has had a theatrical background to her successful life so far. Her parents were both actors, John Price and Andrée Evans. “I grew up on Shakespeare, it’s what we talked about over the breakfast table. I even did Much Ado as my ‘A’ Level text, so I feel I’ve always been preparing for this part in the back of my mind. I recently saw the film again — I love this play so much.”

There is such excitement in Price’s voice that one instinctively knows that fascinating talent is being employed in Sheffield. “I know there is some really fantastic work happening here — things are travelling down to London and proving that Sheffield is a great success as a production base — that’s testimony to the quality of play here.” There’s no doubting the energy and commitment of the new West regime. Provincial theatre is alive and flourishing — without it, talent young and old would be sorely wasted. Claire Price, like the Beatrice she portrays, is an intelligent and passionate ambassador for her craft. Empowerment — now that’s much ado about something I’d say.

Kevin Quarmby © 2005

  • Originally published on R&V 08-09-05

Advertisements

One comment on “Archive Interview • CLAIRE PRICE • Much Ado About Nothing • 2005

  1. The Porcelain Doll
    11/28/2015

    Reblogged this on perfectlyfadeddelusions.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Jots from a Small Apt.

Largely @ Liberty

Rethinking Life

Art and the philosophy of life

Croatia, the War, and the Future

Ina Vukic - Croatia: people, politics, history, economy, transition from communism to democracy

lynz real cooking

lynz real life

Pride's Purge

an irreverent look at UK politics

Pride's Purge

an irreverent look at UK politics

Tropical Affair

Observations of the illusion through the eyes of wonder...

barneyhoskyns.com

The home of writer Barney Hoskyns' books, poems, photos and more.

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

Blog magazine for lovers of health, food, books, music, humour and life in general

I didn't have my glasses on....

A trip through life with fingers crossed and eternal optimism.

Left Handed Lottie

Drawing and painting on an ipad

Atelier 88

More than just rooms

The Sleeping Hare

Art by Lottie Nevin

Pacific Paratrooper

This WordPress.com site is Pacific War era information

beetleypete

The musings of a Londoner, now living in Norfolk

Vegan Books For Children

books from Little Chicken, Honestly Books and Violet's Vegan Comics

Catherine Meyrick

Historical Fiction with a touch of Romance

Silver Screenings

an irreverent blog of old movies

My Life as an Artist (2)

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

Violet's Vegan Comics

Virtual Vegan Comics for Children

Two Rooms Plus Utilities

Written from the heart, this is the unadulterated truth of live with multiple chronic illnesses and being housebound. My life open for you to follow. Please join me

kickingthecat

How current policy is little more than kicking the cat....

Matt's History Blog

Hopefully interesting snippets and thoughts

David Hencke

Westminster and Whitehall news investigations

Notes from the U.K.

Exploring the spidery corners of a culture and the weird stuff that tourist brochures ignore.

BRIDGET WHELAN writer

August is archive month. Posts from the past

P.A. Moed

Creative Exploration in Words and Pictures

creartfuldodger

collage/mixed media artist

My Dad Is A Goldfish

Caring for a demented dad

Scope's Blog

Scope exists to make this country a place where disabled people have the same opportunities as everyone else. Until then, we'll be here.

Art Studio of a Country Woman

Painting My World with My Heart

e-Tinkerbell

Literature, books , sport and whatever intrigues me

AT A GENTLE PACE - Bridget Whelan's lifestyle travel blog

for people who would try anything except whitewater rafting (probably)

reviewdonkey

My personal opinions about.......stuff (as if you care!)

A Teacher's Reflections

Thirty Years of Wonder

The Theatre Guild Newsletter

Celebrating 98 years on Broadway!

Pen and Pension

Immerse yourself in Georgian and Regency England

Scleroderma Guy

It's Not A Life Sentence. It's A Life. Sentence

Lives Our Ancestors Left Behind

What were their stories for us?

REDFLAGFLYING

Dictatorship is good. If the Dictator is me.

J.M. Weselby @ Magpie Creative Writing Services

because all writers are magpies at heart...

LibDem Fischer

The world of politics

MovieBabble

The Casual Way to Discuss Movies

CineMuseFilms

Freelance Film Critic

%d bloggers like this: