My Week: Peter Eyre

First-night nerves mingle with concern for Jude Law as the actor takes on the role of the Ghost in a new London production of 'Hamlet'


Monday


Everybody's tired as we did previews and rehearsals all last week for Hamlet at the Donmar, in which I'm playing the ghost of Hamlet's father.

Everyone is getting a bit twitchy about the opening on Wednesday. In the afternoon we have rehearsal. The director, Michael Grandage, is the reason I'm in Hamlet; I worked with him twice before and he's such a marvellous person to direct you and rehearse you. He doesn't allow the actors to have friends in previews because he thinks if they tell you that you look hideous in that hat or something, it can destroy your confidence.

Tuesday

I am in a complete state of anxiety because when I came home last night I discovered I had no broadband connection. I spend most of the morning on the phone to someone trying to get it connected.

You have to really tune up your voice and your brain and your body. I arrive at the theatre for another rehearsal and when people look at me funny I tell them that I'm having a technological breakdown. A friend of mine is coming to the show tonight and while I don't get nervous with friends coming, there are certain people you want to please. After the show he sends me a text and I wonder if I should ring him to discuss it. Then I remember what an old actress told me years ago, that if anybody ever gives you a compliment then just accept it and change the subject because if you go on asking questions, they'll end up saying something negative.

Wednesday

It's opening night. You have to be very aware that on opening night the audience is much more nervous. You have to appear to be relaxed, then you relax the audience. It's a big responsibility. I get nervous but I give myself a talking to. I don't read my cards from the cast until after the performance because they can make me incredibly upset. Afterwards, there's a big party. It's also Penelope Wilton's birthday, who plays Gertrude, so we all go out for a celebratory dinner.

Thursday

Unlike a lot of actors, I read all the reviews. If somebody says something horrible it is rather upsetting and if someone says something nice you have a little glow for about 10 minutes. I really read them for Jude Law, who's playing Hamlet. I know he was getting a lot of publicity and speculation about whether he could handle the part, which I think is absurd as he is a complete theatre actor. I've known Jude for years, he and I were on Broadway doing shows near each other. He's one of the most open, emotionally free people and actors.

Friday

Another performance today. Playing the ghost of Hamlet's father is more complicated than the two other parts I've played previously because the part consists of two very long incredibly complex Shakespearean speeches. You have to work very hard to make the language come alive. It's quite a challenge.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Management Trainer

£30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Exciting career opportunity to join East...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Scientist / Research Assistant

£18000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious start-up company b...

Reach Volunteering: Chair of Trustees

VOLUNTARY ONLY - EXPENSES REIMBURSED: Reach Volunteering: Do you love the Engl...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital