Theater Round-Up: Ralph Fiennes’s ‘Antony & Cleopatra’ to Stream on National Theatre at Home, Celebrating Shakespeare and More!

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Apr 27, 2020

Posted by: Dawn Johnson

Actor Interviews, Anthony Boyle, BigNews, Broadway, Events, Fandom, Fans, Fiennes, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Honors/Awards, HP Cast, News, Round-Up, Sonia Friedman, Television Programmes, Theater, Theater Round-Up, West End

In this week’s theater round-up, news abounds of the remarkable way the industry is adapting to the coronavirus pandemic. Ralph Fiennes’ Antony & Cleopatra will stream through National Theatre at Home, James Snyder rehearses with the Cursed Child cast through Zoom sessions, Fiennes and Stephen Fry both joined online campaigns to celebrate the life and work of William Shakespeare and Dianne Davis will be a special guest on an upcoming podcast about the pandemic.

Additionally, read on for excerpts from Anthony Boyle’s interview with Collider discussing his current HBO series, The Plot Against America, the 2020 Drama Desk award nominations and videos of Boyle and Snyder’s appearances on Broadway.com’s #LiveAtFive: Home Edition!

Ralph Fiennes Joins Sonnet Marathon and Antony & Cleopatra Streams on National Theatre at Home

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The Irondale company hosted a virtual Sonnet Marathon on Thursday, April 23 in honor of William Shakespeare’s birthday. The ensemble welcomed guest contributions from well-known actors of stage and screen and other industry performers including Rufus Wainwright, Lea DeLaria, Cady Huffman, Daphne Rubin-Vega, John Ventimiglia, Kenyon Phillips, James Whiteside and Harry Potter film alum Ralph Fiennes.

Broadway World reported that contributors read or sang a sonnet of their own choosing for the marathon, which originally streamed live from 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. EST. The marathon can now be viewed on YouTube–see the full video below!

Before the West End shut down as part of coronavirus quarantine measures, Ralph Fiennes was performing in Antony & Cleopatra. Now, for the benefit of fans unable to currently unable to attend theaters in person, Nation Theatre launched an at-home initiative, streaming two major productions on the National Theatre YouTube channel.

Antony & Cleopatra, which stars Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo, will be available the week of May 7 starting at 7 p.m. BST. Fiennes’ production will follow the streaming of Frankenstein, featuring Jonny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch, which can be seen from April 30 and May 1.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, additional productions will be added to the YouTube channel in subsequent weeks.

Anthony Boyle Talks The Plot Against America

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HBO’s The Plot Against America is underway, currently airing episodes of the dark remake of WWII American history. Anthony Boyle, best known for originating the role of Scorpius Malfoy in the London production of Cursed Child, plays New Jersey native Alvin Levin, a Jew who joins Canadian forces in the fight against Nazi Germany.

Boyle spoke with Collider about the thought-provoking historical drama, discussing how his first foray into television was a dream project and the differences between stage and screen. He began:

“I was just coming off of a play on Broadway in New York (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child), and I really wanted to do something that felt quintessentially American. I was doing an English play, and I’d drank up so much of the culture here and really wanted to do something with it. I really wanted to stay in New York. I love that city, with all of my heart. And then, this came along, and David Simon had written it. I read the first two scenes of Alvin, and I felt like I knew him, immediately. I thought, ‘I feel like I could do this,’ and luckily, they asked me to do it. I very much enjoyed it. There are no cons to working with David Simon and HBO and Ed Burns, who’s an incredible writer.”

Boyle acknowledge that coming to television from a stage background was an adjustment, but not at all in the negative sense. In fact, he joked about the differences before moving on to a more serious answer, observing:

“Yeah, no one clapped at the end of my scenes, on set. I was a bit affronted. No, I’m joking. I was doing the play for a year and a half, so you get into a certain zone. You want the person in the front row and the guy in the back to have the same experience, so sometimes your performance could be a bit loud. Doing this, the audience being the camera, an inch away from your face, it allows for more breath, more silence, and more intimacy. It was a very interesting way of working.”

He went on to add:

“On stage, it’s quite exhilarating because it’s happening live and you, as the actor, are the editor. It’s your medium. Whereas on film, you’re giving so much of yourself, and you have no idea how it’s gonna end up. They’re both equally as exciting, and equally as collaborative, and equally as scary.”

Interestingly, there are other correlations between the stage experience, and specifically Cursed Child, and the story told in The Plot Against America. Cursed Child is set in the wizarding world, where characters experience crises heightened by the existence of magic. But after sorting through the fantasy, the heart of the story is the relationship between a father and son and the reality of working through their conflicts.

Likewise, the “big story” in The Plot Against America is told by a family, and growing to empathize with those characters makes the bigger messages relatable. Boyle commented:

“What I really like about this is that there’s obviously a lot of high concept and loads of different things happening, but it’s in the background. We’re dealing with a family situation, and how they deal with this. They’re just a normal working class family in Newark, dealing with a national disaster.”

Get to know the Levin family yourself Monday nights on HBO, and read the full interview with Anthony Boyle via Collider here.

Boyle also joined Broadway.com’s #LiveAtFive: Home Edition earlier this month for a chat. Watch that interview below!

James Snyder Rehearses From Home and Joins Why Go Live Campaign

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James Snyder, star of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Broadway, revealed in a recent Broadway.com #LiveAtFive: Home Edition that he and the new cast are continuing to rehearse in preparation for their eventual return to the stage, though it has most certainly been an unusual time for the wizarding cast. He elaborated:

“We had just finished teching the year three cast into the show when we got the announcement. Many of these kids were about to make their Broadway debuts. Once a week we’ve been going through an act of the show on Zoom, which is great because I’m just sitting in my living room with a glass of wine going through the lines. It’s actually the accent that goes quickly. My mouth doesn’t quite wrap around the words as it needs to anymore…We actually had 10 weeks of rehearsal before this. I was doing double duty of both rehearsal and the show—I was exhausted. It’s a great group of people, and I can’t wait to be back.”

It sounds as though Snyder may have needed the break and, in spite of the downsides, the cast is sure to return with as much energy and enthusiasm as ever. Watch the full episode of #LiveAtFive below!

Snyder is definitely committed to making the magic of the wizarding world as immersive as possible, and that’s something that only the live production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child can truly achieve. For as much as fans enjoy film and television, the veteran theater-goer can attest to the unique, unparalleled experience of attending live theater.

For this reason, Playbill reported that Snyder and other stars, along with musical theatre writers, choreographers and drama teachers, are joining together to explain to produce Why Go Live, a series of one-minute episodes posted nightly to Instagram until theaters re-open. Each will comment on the importance of live theater and why theaters must re-open to the communities once the pandemic has been safely managed.

Watch the videos on Instagram here!

Stephen Fry Joined Shakespeare’s Globe Birthday Celebrations

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Stephen Fry, voice of the U.S. audio editions of the Harry Potter book series, joined in the Shakespeare’s Globe celebrations of Shakespeare’s birthday last week. The series, called Love in Isolation, featured contributors performing monologues and readings of Shakespeare’s work online.

Fry chose to recite Sonnet 29, seen below.

Shakespeare’s Globe also partnered with The Guardian to produce “All the World’s A Stage” for the Love in Isolation series. Participants from the general public joined theater’s leading stars to perform memorable speeches from As You Like It, Hamlet and The Tempest.

Watch the compilation below!

The Stage also reported that the Globe is currently streaming productions such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Tempest on its YouTube channel. Viewing is free, and videos will be available for the next three months.

2020 Drama Desk Nominations Announced

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Playbill announced the 2020 Drama Desk nominations yesterday, and Sonia Friedman Production’s Hamlet in among the nominees. Ruth Negga has received a nod in the category Outstanding Actress in a Play for her performance in the production.

According to Playbill, the ceremony will go on as scheduled through a digital presentation on May 31. Due to alterations in the Broadway season after the shutdown of theaters, the eligibility window for productions ended March 11.

Diane Davis Talks OCD and the Pandemic on Popular Podcast

Diane Davis, known for portraying Ginny Potter in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, announced on her Instagram account that she would be a guest speaker on an upcoming podcast discussing the coronavirus pandemic. She revealed:

“I’m on the podcast ‘Death, Sex, and Money’ this week talking about OCD and the pandemic. I could say I’m sharing this in case it is helpful to someone …. and maybe (hopefully) that’s true. But honestly, I reached out to this podcast in a moment of pain and confusion. I wanted to talk about this because I needed to talk about it.”

Check out her post for more details.


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How is everyone’s mental health? It’s a weird thing to talk about. I deal in emotions for a living and I still feel shame around some of the things I think and feel. (I even feel ashamed for saying I feel shame. What the fuck is that about?) I don’t think I even recognized it as shame until about a week ago; I just knew it as this weird sensation in the pit of my stomach whenever I dare to let myself truly feel anything difficult. Then I cover up the weird sensation with thoughts like “why do you have any right to feel bad!” or “it’s not really that bad, shut up Diane.” But now the world is scary for everyone and a lot of people are out of work and there is so much grief and difficulty and confusion. And there is time. I can’t cover up with all the doing. So I’m experimenting, slowly, with just letting myself feel it all. I’m on the podcast “Death, Sex, and Money” this week talking about OCD and the pandemic. I could say I’m sharing this in case it is helpful to someone …. and maybe (hopefully) that’s true. But honestly, I reached out to this podcast in a moment of pain and confusion. I wanted to talk about this because I needed to talk about it. Love to you all during this weird, scary, crazy time. And thank you to everyone on the front lines keeping the basics of life running and keeping us safe and fed. I am grateful every day to the doctors, nurses, grocery store workers, postal carriers, delivery people, garbagemen … the list goes on. When this is all done, I hope we can give you some time to work through all of this, too. Don’t feel ashamed if you need it.

A post shared by Diane Davis (@thedianedavis) on





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