Nu•ance Theatre’s production of HAMLET is taking New York by storm. Previews are a few days away with opening Friday, January 28. Before the players arrive, we spoke with the Queen and Ophelia… Mickey Pantano & Julia Boyes. The Nordic Fella in the pictures is Jack Wink as HAMLET.
We hear a lot about inspiration – or Muse – that drives an artist. What inspires you?
MICKEY: For me inspiration starts with the text, the written word that I will be speaking. So, in the beginning I spend an enormous amount of time exploring the words that I (as my character will be saying), as well as the words spoken to me. After all acting is primarily about listening and responding. Why? is always the first question. Why am I saying that? Why am I doing this? Then as my character begins to take shape, I am inspired by the sparks of emotional life that begin to show their face and I am curious as to where they will take me. I’m drawn to follow them and to explore. Imagination and curiosity are muses. John DeSotelle, our director, continually reminds us that imagination is one of an actor’s greatest tools, without it we have no springboard to fly from. In my personal life my muse is my partner in life, Scott, who puts up with the ridiculous hours, who runs lines with me, keeps the home fires burning and consistently reminds me that I can achieve anything I set my mind to.
JULIA: This is a remarkably difficult question. As it regards my “inspiration,” I think the work is my inspiration. There is so much truth and authenticity in the script. Trying to peel back the layers and get to the heart of it all drives me to do the work better. I’m inspired by my fellow cast members. They are a cast so talented that for a while, I was so intimidated! I think my work was definitely poorer while I was in my “intimidated” phase… so I had to take my adoration of my cast members and turn it into something workable. I’m so inspired by all of them. They are truly a group of people I LOVE to be around. Finally, I really prize my relationship with God, and I think he calls us to a standard of kindness and love, as well to a standard of excellence. So if I can cling to that, I will love my cast well and love doing the work well. So to be more concise: Shakespeare, the script, my beliefs, and my peers inspire me. (Although let’s be honest, these people are so much higher up than my peers. They are like royalty). Another thing that inspires me is my desire to be an agent of change in our society. Our world has the potential to be so lovely, but we are living in a time where there is immense division in almost every facet of life. Shakespeare was so acutely aware of the human condition. He had some sort of lens to see the brokenness and division the in which world has always existed. If I can be a conduit of any sort of truth, I want to be that. Ophelia is a character who begins the play full of hope that her love and devotion will be enough. She will be a devoted enough daughter to make her father and brother happy, and simultaneously show Hamlet all the love she has for him in the hopes that they will succeed together. She cannot do both. And her duty as a daughter overrides her desires as a human. It’s heartbreaking. Each character has his or her own arc that winds up being heartbreaking. If audiences really dig deep, they will see that their lives have similar conflicts. If an audience member walks away more aware of his jealousy due to what he saw Claudius go through, that leads to the potential that he will work through his jealousy, and not kill his brother (figuratively). As actors, all we can do it show people a mirror. It’s the audiences’ job to look at the mirror and figure out which button is mis-matched, or where their mascara is on their eyelid. They have to choose to fix it. But we can ask them to look.
What do I want most in your chosen profession?
MICKEY: Hmmmm, well it would be ridiculous for me to deny that I would love fame, success, applause etc. And having said that I will also be very happy if I can continue to work as an actress, developing characters and acting in good solid productions.
JULIA: This is such a weird question. There are surface-y answers. There are big goals and dreams. But I think at the end it boils down to this: I want to stay active, and I want to stay true. I don’t want “down time” as an actor. I want to stay busy. I would eventually love to quit my day job because I am supporting myself with acting. But I will gratefully continue to work hard at my amazing day job as long as it supports me to act the way I am acting now. (And I do enjoy my day job, which is such a blessing). So to stay active as an actor means auditioning, writing my own work, taking classes, and continuing to play. I get really hard on myself that I forget that acting is supposed to be fun. 😉 And no matter what kinds of work I’m doing as an actor, I must remain steadfast to my sense of truth. I want to continue to get better as an actor. Not because I’ll ever be the “most talented” or the “greatest,” but because when you’re passionate about something, you push yourself to get to the greatest point that you can get to. So I want to always be improving. I want to show up as an actor every single day, and give my all. “Hamlet” has been good for that. We have all had to show up and give our all every single day. At the end of every week, I ask myself “Julia, how many days this week did you get to be an actor?” (Meaning, how many days did I put myself out there and get to act?) In seasons where I am auditioning and not actively a part of a production, the answer to that question might have been “one or two days.” But during this process, at the end of every week, I have gotten to be an actor pretty much every. single. day. It’s pretty great.
MICKEY: Do what you love, have no regrets and live your truth.
JULIA: Come see Hamlet! 🙂
Nu•ance Theatre Company’s ambitious take on
William Shakespeare’s most enigmatic tale opens this month
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
directed by John DeSotelle
January 28 – February 25, 2017
The Main Stage of John DeSotelle Studio
300 West 43rd Street, Third Floor
New York City
John DeSotelle and Nu•ance Theatre Company are employing medieval and renaissance theatrical techniques — with a 21st Century twist — to create a visually stunning production exploring the web of stories within this oft-examined work of brilliance.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 26 @ 7:00 PM
FRIDAY, JANUARY 27 @ 7:00 PM
SATURDAY, JANUARY 28 @ 7:00 PM with special gala to follow
SUNDAY, JANUARY 29 @ 3:00 PM; FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 3 @ 7:00 PM
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 4 @ 7:00 PM; SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 5 @ 3:00 PM
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 6 @ 7:00 PM; FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 10 @ 7:00 PM
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 11 @ 7:00 PM; SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 12 @ 3:00 PM
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16 @ 7:00 PM; FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 17 @ 7:00 PM
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 18 @ 1:00 PM; SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 18 @ 7:00 PM
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 19 @ 3:00 PM; THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 23 @ 7:00 PM
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 24 @ 7:00 PM; SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 25 @ 7:00 PM
Get an exclusive preview HERE: