At rehearsal with the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Richard II

Unfortunately, the title of this post doesn’t reflect my personal experience but the multimedia and audience engagement work done by the Royal Shakespeare Company and Illuminations around the upcoming production of Richard II. (Yes, I am referring to the David Tennant / Greg Doran Richard II, and if you still don’t know what I am talking about, you definitely found your way here by mistake).

Richard II opens in less than three weeks – have they started feeling the pressure yet ? I might be taking too much pleasure in this thought – and the RSC has posted a series of production video diaries, of which the most recent is my favourite, as it provides a rare glimpse into the rehearsal process.

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Twelfth Night and This House, press nights that didn’t happen make it to print

Stephen Fry as Malvolio. Photo Simon Annand

Press nights often create the headlines (after all you need a press night in order to have press reviews. Or do you? More about this later), but in the past week press nights ARE in the headlines: Twelfth Night started previews at the Globe, or more accurately started its Globe performances that function as a preview run before the official opening at the Apollo Theatre in November. None of the Globe performances are for the press and the expectation was, at least on the part of the producers, that the production will be reviewed for the first time at the Apollo. It didn’t quite work out that way: the Telegraph prominently run a review under the headline “Stephen Fry in Twelfth Night – First Review” and the Times followed suit a few days later. Both five star reviews I might add, but the producers are not happy: they protest these reviews break the embargo. I can’t help but feel it is a token effort whose main purpose is to prevent a precedent. With Mark Rylance playing Olivia  and, especially, Stephen Fry playing Malvolio, did they really believe the press would sit on their hands till November? But I wonder how critics from other papers feel. They have every reason to be unhappy as they played by the rules and punished for it.

On the other hand, the Guardian plays a different game these days: it encourages readers to use its own twitter hashtag #GdnReview, and between this and comments on its blogs, it published the readers views of the production. I am ambivalent about the prominent way the Guardian uses the public’s comments: there is a fine line between encouraging dialogue and encouraging people to give you content for free. As these are difficult and confusing days for the press, there is no easy answer. Continue reading

Ten Golden Rules for Twitter (that they are absolutely no use to anyone)

These rules won’t get you more followers. So there is absolutely no reason to continue reading.

1) I only follow people who I like. If I want to follow what you say but I don’t like you, I ‘ll put you in a (private) list. And I ‘ll probably lose interest very quickly.

2) No text speak. If you can’t say it in 140 characters, you are doing something wrong. I do have shortcuts I consider acceptable (“&” instead of “and”, “v” instead of “very”) but I won’t use numeric symbols unless I would use them in a normal written sentence. I don’t use long tweets either. It’s 140 characters for a reason (mainly to make you edit it a few times)

3) I don’t tweet about frustrations at work or problems with friends, lovers, family. I know some people do, and it’s fine by me, but twitter is like being in a party: you know some, you don’t know most, & I ‘ll try not bore people with my troubles. Unless I am sloshed. See rule number 5.

4) But I will tweet about frustrations with public transport. This is what twitter was invented for.

5) I don’t tweet when I am drunk. At least not when I am sloshed. But other people’s drunken tweets at 2am on a Saturday night (or rather Sunday morning) are very amusing. Especially Russell Tovey’s.

6) I don’t do Follow Fridays and don’t thank the people who include me in their Follow Fridays. The former because I don’t think they work, the latter because I am basically rude.

7) I don’t tweet during tv drama. I ‘ll tweet through any other tv programmes.

8) I still mourn the old Retweet functionality, when tweets appeared from your account.

9) I block all spam accounts religiously.

10) There is no tenth rule. But I am surprised you made it that far.