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Domino Theatre
Oscar Wilde

Quote of the Month

"I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself."

- Oscar Wilde (in An Ideal Husband


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John Gielgud

John Gielgud


Director Peter Brook is known for spending weeks of rehearsals with improvisations. One of the best-known theatrical stories concerns his production of Seneca's Oedipus at the National Theatre. This was in 1968 during the height of the "Theatre of Cruelty" trend and Brook had made the distinguished cast go through many days of primal screaming, imitating various animals—everything except work on the text. One day he asked the actors to prepare a short improvisation based on the most terrifying experience they could possibly imagine. The actors complied from their arsenal of inventive reactions. When it came to Sir John Gielgud's turn, he did nothing. The great actor stood there with his faraway, melancholy gaze until Brook asked whether there was nothing terrifying that he could think of. "Actually, Peter, there is," replied Sir John quietly. "We open in two weeks."

From Theatrical Anecdotes, by Peter Hay.

Kate Trotter on Roland Hewgill

"I remember doing Twelfth Night as a very young actress. I played Olivia and Roland Hewgill shone as Malvolio. I still smile when I recall our first preview.

Roland Hewgill and Gordon Robertson in Playboy of the Western World

Roland Hewgill and Gordon Robertson in Domino's 1954 production of The Playboy of the Western World.

"I was sure I owed it to Roly to inch my way down stage of him so he could be favoured upstage during our scenes together. I was, after all, very young and very inexperienced and he was, well, Roly Hewgill! Well, I inched down... and he inched down. I inched further. Perhaps he didn't see that I was giving him the focus, I thought. He sipmly inched down opposite me, continuing to share the focus. This went on for the entire scene until we were almost out of our light.

"When we went off stage, that teacher of many lessons took my hand and, chuckling, said, 'That scene is about the two of us and we will play it equally. If you like, we can go and sit in the audience's lap, but if you are going to play Olivia, my dear, you must take your place on the stage, for her sake!'

"Like all the really great actors, I have never ever seen Roly steal a scene. He demands that you share the stage... that you always play a scene together."

From Standing Naked in the Wings, compiled and edited by Lynda Mason Green and Tedde Moore.

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