These comments are the actor’s thoughts or ideas about the part as s/he goes through the rehearsal process – they are simply his/her own interpretations and frequently change as the rehearsal process progresses. Because Richard III is a history play, we've all been spending a lot of time researching what actually happened, or what people think happened, leading up to the Battle of Bosworth, and more importantly, who our characters really were. This has really helped me start to get to grips with the character of Lady Anne. I originally thought that Lady Anne was simply a victim, a little like Ophelia in Hamlet. After all, at the beginning of the play, she has nothing and no-one to support her; her parents are dead, her husband has just died and she has no friends at court who can help her. However, to view Lady Anne as a victim is to totally disregard how she is actually portrayed in the text, but if you look at the history of Lady Anne, who she is and what happens to her before the play starts, she, and her relationship with Richard, begin to make a bit more sense. Lady Anne's father was the Earl of Warwick, also known as the Kingmaker, and perhaps the most powerful magnate in the land. During the reign of Henry VI, Warwick helped the Duke of York (Richard's father) and his son Edward (King Edward IV, Richard's brother) to fight King Henry before switching allegiance to the crown, (hence Anne's marriage to King Henry's son). When Anne was growing up, her father and Richard's father were fighting on the same side. According to some of the history books I've read, Richard and his other brother Clarence were sent to stay with the Earl of Warwick when they were young, so Anne and Richard, to a certain extent, grew up together and must have known each other fairly well. Recently, I have been struggling with my first scene as Lady Anne, act 1 scene 2. Just reading the scene, I found it very hard to believe that a woman could be wooed in such a way, and with such success, by her husband's murderer and I immediately realised that it could be very hard to convince an audience not to dismiss Anne's agreeing to marry Richard as pretence. You could play Lady Anne as a 'victim' in that scene; her reason for accepting Richard as her husband could simply be her own survival, but for me, this interpretation does not sit well with what Shakespeare has written. Some of the conversations between Anne and Richard remind me a little of those between Beatrice and Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing; they are battles of wit: RICHARD Vouchsafe, divine perfection of a woman, Of these supposèd crimes to give me leave By circumstance but to acquit myself ANNE Vouchsafe, diffused infection of a man, Of these known evils but to give me leave By circumstance to accuse thy cursèd self. (ll. 75-80) Instantly, Anne subtly changes what Richard has just said and throws it back at him; they are intellectual equals and she obviously feels that, despite her weak social position, she can counter him in this way. The scene suddenly becomes more believable if you consider that Richard and Anne knew each other as children; he isn't merely the murderer of her husband, but someone she has known for years. I am now much happier generally with the scene, and I feel that I can approach it honestly, but I'm still working out how we can present the scene to an audience and make them believe what they are seeing is genuine and true. These comments are the actor’s thoughts or ideas about the part as s/he goes through the rehearsal process – they are simply his/her own interpretations and frequently change as the rehearsal process progresses. Lady Anne’s first scene (i.2) is a fantastically theatrical scene; after all, she is wooed over a dead corpse by the man that killed her father and brother. During the first weeks of rehearsals, I was concentrating on what it would feel like to have your family killed and then to meet the murderer face to face. Before rehearsals started, I contacted several victim support organisations and talked to them about some of those people they’ve helped who, like Lady Anne, have come face to face with those who are responsible for causing them immense pain. Some of these people’s reactions are quite different to what you might expect; some could do nothing but laugh, others were intensely angry, some overcome with grief; all different ways of dealing with intensely emotional situations. What I gained from this research is an intense understanding of how emotionally fragile Lady Anne must be in this scene. Although she puts on a brave face and curses Richard as viciously as she can, underneath this act is a woman in intense pain. At the moment, we’re still exploring whether act 1 scene 2 is a public or a private scene. Although you could argue that wooing is often done in private, it has been pretty much decided that I will make my entrance through the yard, following the coffin of Henry VI. After making my entrance through the groundlings, it will be difficult to pretend that they’re not there! At the moment, I’m imagining them to be a crowd at Henry’s funeral. I’ve also been wondering more about why Lady Anne agrees to marry Richard, and I’m beginning to think that it’s because she has nothing left to hold on to. Everybody has those conversations which you walk away from thinking, ‘I wish I’d said…’. Well, Lady Anne does say exactly what she wants to, and when she’s said it, her anger is spent. Without her anger, she doesn’t have anything left to keep her wits together, and I think this could be one reason why she agrees to marry Richard. These comments are the actor’s thoughts or ideas about the part as s/he goes through the rehearsal process – they are simply his/her own interpretations and frequently change as the rehearsal process progresses. Audience reactions are especially important in my first scene as Lady Anne. It’s suddenly become very apparent that the audience will usually be on Richard’s side during that scene and have little sympathy for Lady Anne. I suppose that’s what Shakespeare intended, after all, the audience has been introduced to Richard at the very beginning of the play, but they know nothing about Lady Anne. In many ways, the scene between them is simply an illustration of Richard’s charisma, to show how good he is at bending people to his wishes. In the Globe space, there is no way that the scene can be played as a private meeting between two people; the fact that you can see 1,600 people watching you makes it impossible to pretend that you’re alone; the scene becomes like a boxing match. The key is to embrace this, and make sure that Lady Anne gives as good as she gets, for as long as she can, and often the audience will respond to her as she does this. At one point, Richard declares that he didn’t kill her husband, and Lady Anne responds sarcastically; ‘Why then he is alive.’ Suddenly, an audience warms to Lady Anne in a way they haven’t done previously. In the end, I always have to lose that fight with Richard, but, for each performance, my objective is to show the audience that, despite the fact that she is highly distraught and confused, it is believable for her to accept Richard as her husband; it is not impossible to see how they could work together as a couple.