Shakespeare's Henry VI is the original miniseries blockbuster, say Mark Quartley and Minnie Gale, who play Henry VI and his wife Margaret in the current RSC two-part production
Shakespeare’s ultimate blockbusting tale of war, intrigue and the fight for power comes to the RSC stage with Henry VI: Rebellion; followed by Wars of the Roses, the final part of the trilogy. Here actors Mark Quartley and Minnie Gale, who play Henry VI and his wife Margaret, tell Gill Sutherland why the plays are a must-see.
You performed Henry VI: Part One in a broadcast ‘open rehearsal’ last June, and now you’re embarking on an epic run of parts two and three – how is it living with Henry VI that long?
Mark: Also we were both cast maybe over two years ago. So yeah, it’s been weird living with the potential of the characters in the back of your head for a very long time.
Having worked in part one, with that project, we both were very keen to get our claws into parts two and three because that’s really where the meat of these two incredible roles live. But it was amazingly useful to do that.
How was exposing yourself during the open rehearsals aspect, with the audience seeing the work-in-progress?
Minnie: It was great because I felt like you just have to let go of your ego completely. Because you do try things out in rehearsals. That’s how we learn, by trying things and kind of going, ‘Oh, maybe not that’. So you’re constantly kind of essentially falling over, and being filmed doing that.
You’re just kind of like well, you just got to throw your arms open to it and just go ‘Yeah, I’m fallible’, and there’s something really humbling about that.