Sunday, 31 January 2010

Sunday 31 January

I just auditioned for the first time since I was 18 for the role of the Countess (in Shakespeare play is "All's Well that Ends Well"). Those of us who love poetry, feel we must work to keep "high culture" alive.

The play is to be staged in the stable courtyard of a country house near Tunbridge Wells. If I did get the role (which is very much in the balance), I would probably be decked out for one whole week in July in Elizabethan costume, long pearls and a wig!

The auditioning experience was a 'rare' sensation. I played the main scene between the Countess and Helena, in which the Countess cajoles her adopted daughter to admit she loves her son Bertram, with three different young hopeful women in their twenties. These women kneel to the Countess to tell about their passionate love.

This was a relationship in real life which I have never had. Something inside me was really amazed, and touched. No doubt this is something to do with poetry and the playwright's emotions themselves. But here were three young women ready to do this in public (a sign of long lost English hierarchies) for love of Shakespeare, poetry and the stage. I regard the Countess as a portrayal of Mary Sidney, the subject of my research.

I loved every minute of this acting experience, even if I do not get the part. Brian Blessed, the RSC actor has said of Shakespeare: "Trust him. You can trust him completely." He takes you "further".

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