Struts & Frets: Interviews with the Cast and Crew of Henry VI - Morgan Hooper

If you thought you stood a chance at being a better person than Morgan Hooper, you might as well give up now. He's attractive, he's charming, and he's a wonderful Shakespearean actor. And after conducting this interview, it's clear that he's one of the most humble, dedicated, and passionate guys around. We can go on record here and now as saying that Morgan Hooper is one of the finest human beings it has ever been our pleasure, nay, privilege to work with!

And, of course, we could compliment the rest of our cast with equal displays of affection and verbosity, but Morgan's playing the king, and we're afraid he'd chop our heads off if we didn't show due diligence. What!? We mean-...nothing, my lord! Just posting your glorious interview now!

He's watching...always watching....

D: Morgan, you have, without a doubt the best hair in the cast. (Sorry, Nick) What's your secret?

MH: Haha, well thank you. You should check out my back hair. It's magnificent and has a surprisingly nice sheen.

D: I'll be sure to do that. You're also, most joking aside, a phenomenal actor. What's your secret there?

MH: Thank you. That means a lot. If I'm doing good work with this story, it's largely due to all the strong actors in our ensemble. After our first reading of the play, I went home thinking, "Well, I guess I better bring my A-game to this, because they're all really good." And everyone brings something unique to the table, too; whether it's a great command of the language or some really sharp and funny character work. I feel really lucky. That doesn't happen every project.

D: Okay, hair and acting aside, what's your deepest darkest secret? We promise we won't tell.

MH: Haha, well you can tell everyone except the Shakespeare purists out there that this trilogy is not-so-secretly my favorite play in Bill's canon. Even though Henry 6 is one of the early works, and the poetry may not be as sublime, still, it's a great work. It's a dark saga, chock-full of blood and swash.  And it may be one of the most resonant plays of the day, considering the politics of the Elizabethan world are not far from our own. 
But, what I really love of about this trilogy is how it's difficult to say who the main protagonist is.  Though it may be a crude comparison, for me, Henry 6 is similar to piece of realism like Uncle Vanya; in that, both stories are less about the title character, and more about the lives that are affected by one's actions or failure to act. Margaret and Suffolk, Joan and Talbot, Humphrey Gloucester and the Yorkist faction...Each of them is fighting for supremacy in their own way, and Shakespeare, as always, has a way of making us cheer for the same people we loathe, and despise the one's we desperately wish could win.

D: Has the pressure of playing a king driven you mad? And if it hasn't, what are some tell-tale signs we should look out for?

MH: I haven't gone mad yet, nevermind the strange disappearance of cast and crew who end up dead in that bathroom without a sink. - Oh wait!
D: Uh-huh.... Anything else we should know about you or the show?

MH: My other big passion is Kendo, the art of Japanese fencing. I've been training some 15 years, and last summer opened a dojo in Astoria. We have a nice mix of older and younger folk, and the sparring gets pretty intense. It's a lot of fun, and another great path with which to dedicate yourself. Please visit if you'd like to learn more.

I'm sorry, I actually don't have anything witty to wrap up this edition of S&F; I clicked the link to Morgan's dojo (if you know what I mean), and got sucked into a wormhole of awesomeness. Be back shortly. 

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