Trystan Gravelle

In Love’s Labour’s Lost, four randy and hapless scholars vow chastity for the sake of studying metaphysics, only to be undone by four beauties of the French court. Let the Shakespearean games begin. 

The rowdy production by The Globe, alit at the Annenberg Center last week.  Directed by Globe master Dominic Dromgoole, featuring sumptuous costume designs by Jonathan Fensom. This LLL is the coin of the theatrical realm – the dialogue sings, the hi-low brow comedy sparks and the ensemble playing is world-class. 
Trystan Gravelle plays the horny Berowne, who is ever ready with deft and saucy soliloquies. Offstage the actor is an avid footballer and was scouting Old City Philadelphia for the odd rugby field the day the company arrived.

“We got here at two in the morning and it’s been absolutely amazing. It’s a great city, and I walked the breadth of it yesterday and saw Ben Franklin’s house and the Delaware,” the actor said last week.

Gravelle, from South Wales, attended RADA on a full scholarship and has starred in productions at Royal Shakespeare Company and the Globe. The actor, looks the classic Elizabethan leading man in the vented chocolate satin breeches and shoulder cape, doesn’t bury his Welsh accent, instead uses it as part of Berowne’s musical language. 
Gravelle says he doesn’t prefer comedy or drama, “It doesn’t matter. I enjoy doing any of them. You have a laugh doing what you’re doing and that’s all I ask for,” he said. “This production is a good bit of fun.”

He did note, though, he had some apprehension approaching the role, “I thought it was a lot to handle. It’s very wordy.”

“We did it two years ago at the Globe where you are performing in front of 2000 people and the lights are on, so you can see them react. My job is to get them tuned into the language. And if it’s a bit off key you can easily lose the audience. It’s a challenge. The imagery is what you want to get everyone engaged in.”

Whether it’s love speeches or food fights, Dromgoole’s inventive direction keeps everything in motion and is aided by great period music composed by Claire van Kampen. Gravelle credits his fellow players and the director.

“Dominic to his great credit has a cast that has fun with this, runs with the ball, enjoys the text and sets the house on fire. I haven’t had a day dealing with egos or a dull moment. So positive, focused, and passionate, and it spreads to everybody else.” He adds, “And I love the Elizabethan garb” even though admits to splitting his tights on occasion.

Gravelle has to keep off the rugby field for now. “I’m just recovering from a knee operation. So maybe I’ll try to work a game of rounders, which is pretty much like baseball.” He’s in luck, this week anyway, Philly is baseball central.

The Globe is on tour in the states through mid-December.