Skip to main content
The Folger Spotlight

In Rehearsal with The Second Shepherds' Play

Yesterday, we introduced you to the talented ladies and gentlemen who are working hard to bring The Second Shepherds’ Play to life. Today, we take you inside the rehearsal room for a quick peak at what actually happens when our cast comes together to rehearse.

The first thing to know about the rehearsal process is that no two shows are ever the same. While the Sense and Sensibility cast had to learn Regency-style dance and how to navigate a set on wheels, the company of The Second Shepherds’ Play is faced with their own set of challenges, including puppetry, a completely different style of dance, and, of course, a variety of medieval and Renaissance songs to accompany their tale.

But for all of these differences, most rehearsal processes begin at the same place: the read-through. The first read-through for The Second Shepherds’ Play was just what it sounds like—a chance for the cast to come together and read the script together, out loud, and get a sense for what kind of story they may telling. The director will often say a few words at the beginning about the play and her or his ideas for how it will look on stage.


Adaptor/Director Mary Hall Surface addresses the cast of The Second Shepherds’ Play, 2016. Photo: Ben Lauer


Read-throughs are the first stage of the process, so no one expects the actors to know exactly how they will perform a particular role. However, that doesn’t stop them from experimenting with their characters, as these first rehearsal pictures show.


After the first read-through, the company begins working on putting the show on its feet. We visited them while they were rehearsing ‘Sommerset Wassail,’ the festive song that closes the production. There was singing…


Some refreshers from choreographer Emma Jaster…

And some special guests to make sure everything stays on track….

To say more would spoil the fun of seeing it live for the first time. Suffice it to say, we left tapping our toes and with smiles on our faces.

There are more sneak peaks to come as we get ready for preview performances to begin on Sunday. We hope to see you there!

Malinda Kathleen Reese (Sheep/Ensemble), Danny Cackley (Ensemble), Matthew R. Wilson (Gib) and Megan Graves (Daw)

Come see The Second Shepherds’ PlayNovember 27- preprod_blue_583_mail2December 21 at Folger Theatre. For tickets and more information, visit us online or call the Folger Box Office at 202.544.7077.