Introducing  Antonio Royce Copeland (Lysander)! A Midsummer Night’s Deam is Antonio’s first production with PCSC, so he’s answering round one of our Acting Questions.

1. How do your typically go about preparing a Shakespearean character?

I approach every character I play from a similar jumping off point. Our actions as human beings are based on needs and wants (be they realistic, necessary to survival, or otherwise), so it is necessary for me to flesh out all of these first. Then I have to determine whether or not they are fantastical or within my reach, and just what I’m willing to do to get them. Once a character is driven, and those things are rooted in something; the actor – or vessel as I like to describe our part as performers – can personally connect with the character begins to take shape. As always much respect is due to the text (particularly when good ol’ Billy is involved), so you take care to fully understand The “givens” (i.e. who, what, where, when, and why). Once I get a grip on the environment I’m playing in; I focus on how the character is seen by those around him (or her if I’m lucky), and I decide which things are true, which things I’m aware of and how I react to said person as a result. The finishing layers such as physical traits, accents, and the rhythm/music of the dialogue, all fill out the role and let it become a living, breathing entity unto itself. So basically I read the script and wait for the director to tell me what to do. ;-)

2. What do you find to be most helpful part of PCSC’s standard rehearsal process?

It’s very apparent that the members of PCSC are also educators in one way shape or form. The rehearsal process is a safe space where EVERYONE is encouraged to provide input into not only their specific role, but anywhere they feel they can help. I imagine it’s what a brain storming session involving the writers for 30 Rock or The Golden Girls must have been like! Just someone saying, “it’s okay… just let your juices flow.”

3. What do you like to do for fun outside of theater?

I enjoy baking, and the Disney Channel…it doesn’t go much deeper than that…

4. What is your day job?

What is that?

5. What theater plans do you have in the next couple of months?

I plan to be singing and dancing wherever anyone will permit me. I feel the most like myself when I’m pretending to be someone else, so be it a gig at Tibbits Opera House (fingers crossed), or on the corner of 28th and Division if you belt it, they will come.  Or at least honk or throw something at you as they pass by!