Entries tagged with “Antonio”.

Steven Schwall as Antonio

Hello, this is Steven Schwall. I am playing Antonio, the merchant, in the upcoming Pigeon Creek Shakespeare production of The Merchant of Venice. This is my second production with Pigeon Creek, and the members of the company are starting to treat me like a “veteran”.

This is another ensemble-directed piece, but the personnel are different from those in Henry V. Every ensemble has its own dynamic, but the one thing I am beginning to notice is the overall principles remain the same. There really is a consistency to this company’s approach, and even though the personnel change, the principles remain the same.

I really can’t comment upon the rehearsal process, as I have been involved in wrapping up another production that is keeping me from rehearsals, but the interesting thing I have found about this work is that the title character (which is me) is not as important as one might think. Sure he is pivotal to the plot, but more as a catalyst around which things move than a protagonist or antagonist. Antonio is an object, not an action. This means that I must, in my own work, provide my fellow actors with substance with which to work. This will be a far greater challenge than I originally thought, but I am glad to be surrounded by such a supportive group.

The other thing about this work is that it is another of those mixed genre plays of Shakespeare’s (commonly called “problem plays”). It has some of the trappings of comedy – disguises, mistaken identities, and a happy ending (for most). But at the same time, it is moralistic like a tragedy, dealing with anti-semitism, greed, and justice.

I would encourage you all to come out and see this production. If it turns out like previous Pigeon Creek productions, I am sure you will be in for an evening of thought-provoking, entertaining theatre.

Hello again! Scott Lange here, we’re on to new projects and new discussions.  I’m here today to talk to you about The Tempest.  We just closed Hamlet on Sunday afternoon, but we started rehearsing this show a few weeks ago.  So we were doubled up on our Shakespeare for a bit.  This isn’t really new for us, but we haven’t had two shows overlap like this for quite a while.  Even with double the work, we didn’t have any casualties.

For this production I am playing the role of Antonio.  Antonio is the younger brother of the main character Prospero.  In events occurring before the action of the play, Prospero is Duke of Milan and loved by all of his subjects.  Antonio is a trusted advisor in the Milanese government, but becomes overwhelmed by greed, and steals Prospero’s dukedom.  Prospero and his baby daughter Miranda are cast out to sea, presumably to their death.  So essentially I’m playing the bad guy in this one.

I haven’t had the chance to play a villain in a few shows, so I’m excited to be getting back to it.  What I love in particular with Shakespeare’s villains, especially in his comedies, is that they are so unabashedly evil.  They love to steal, rape, and pillage; and are quite content to do such acts repeatedly.  It isn’t that they are simple characters, quite the opposite, but they just have so much fun being bad.

Antonio, throughout the play, has no remorse for what he’s done.  Not once does he ever repent, apologize, or beg forgiveness.  He even laughs in the face of danger.  Faced with spending the rest of his life on a deserted island, he mocks his companions.  Apparently he doesn’t care about living in an awkward situation.  It’s like an episode of survivor.  Even though he depends on the people he’s with to get along, he has no qualms about laughing in their faces.
The place I’m at in rehearsal right now, is trying to find different shades to his personality.  I think I’ve spent quite a bit of rehearsal time just making him a jerk.  But I need to spend more time examining what Antonio wants and thinks at each moment he’s on stage.  We’re rehearsing one of my character’s pivotal scenes in the coming days, and I plan on working quite a bit on really filling out the rest of the role.  I think I’ve got a handle on the basics, but I think Antonio bobs and weaves a bit more.  He’s blunt, but also crafty.  At this point it is all coming across too shallowly.  Fortunately I’ve got a few weeks to really hammer out a deep and complex villain; one that audiences will love to hate, and hate to love.  Come and see if I can do it.