Struts & Frets: Interviews with the Cast & Crew of King John - Josh Mahaffey

Welcome back! Unless it's your first time reading Struts & Frets, in which lucky, lucky reader. Struts & Frets is the only place to read up on the cast and crew of Hamlet Isn't Dead's King John. Except of course for all of the fan-fiction you'll inevitably write after seeing the show. Let's start with a particularly eloquent drink of water, our show's Pembroke and King Philip, Joshua Mahaffey!

Or, as we like to call him, our better maHalf.
HID: First thing's first, what's your favorite color, and what's the favorite color of each of your characters?

JM: My personal favorite is blue. It is just the tops for me. And really any shade. Pthalo to Prussian and everything in between. Oooh! You could mix just a bit of the Titanium white into the Pthalo blue to get some happy little clouds for a cool winter scene! Maybe a 1 inch brush, or the fan brush, whatever, it's your world!
Woops. Too pumped about blue. Gonna re-focus.

King Phillip's Favorite color is red - I imagine that's the pigment he uses when looking at a map and coloring in his currently-held territories. Red is also the color he sees when people speak out of turn during royal parleys!!!!!

Pembroke's favorite color a darkened yellow, almost teetering on brown. The color of parchment paper. Pembroke is a reader, a note-taker, a avid documentarian. He's in his comfort zone when putting ink to paper.

HID: King Phillip is very political; some might even call him a flip-flopper. If he were running for president in this election how would he deal with Trump (Drumpf)?

JM: Great Question. Assuming we've given Phil (and he'd have to go by Phil, "Philip" comes off as too establishment and elite) an extensive tutorial on social media, campaign finance laws, advertising buys, super pacs, third-rail phrases, opposition research, and all of the other fundamental things that make Democracy great, here's how I'd advise him:

*Run to the right of Donald on immigration, by touting Phil's friendly relationship with the 1st Citizen of Angiers, who has first hand experience with using walls to deter unwanted immigration. "We've actually seen it work in Angiers - and We Will Make It Work in AMERICA!"

Then we walk it back in the general by ditching the wall plan, and arranging a marriage between El-Chapo Guzman and Hillary Clinton in which the United States acquires the Sinaloa valley and maybe some other territories, and the U.S. relieves Mexico of the entire trade deficit between the two countries (You know, as a dowry.)

This cost would be off-set by revoking the Catholic church's religious exemption status and imposing a 70% tax on any church revenue (hey, I know it's 2016, but Phil is still REALLY sore about the awkward position the church put him in that one time.....)

HID: King Phillip is also very French, what would you say is the FRENCHIEST indulgence Phillip engages in? Follow up, how does he feel about French toast?
JM: The Frenchiest thing he indulges in? I think in Philip's most private moments, he likes to wear all pink, smoke cigarettes, and sing about his regretful decision to drop out of high school in favor of pursuing a career in the salon world. Oh and French Toast? Oui Oui Oui all day everyday.

HID: You also play Pembroke who is pretty good bros with Salisbury. What do they do on their bro-dates together?
JM: Pembroke and Salisbury go out into the countryside and just relentlessly gossip about and hate on all the members of the court. Sounds something like this:
"It's like, 'of course, I can totally do that for you, but do you have to ask me so condescendingly?'"
"Oh my god tell me about it. And did you see her shoes today?"
"Oh my god, yes I did, hideous!!" (giggling)
"She really needs to stop letting Elinor dress her."
"I know - it's like, 'Um, hello, it's 1202, the times would like to welcome you hither!" (giggling)

HID: What is the most exciting part about this project for you?
JM: There are so many exciting things about this project. I get to work with great people that I know very well, and even more great people that I'm meeting and working with for the first time. This is the first time I've played a king, and it's so great because the language is that of a disciplined, charismatic (if conniving) politician. I'm a huge campaign junkie and an avid fan of shows like the West Wing and House of Cards, so having the opportunity to marry that interest with Shakespeare's language really excites me.

It's also exciting anytime you have the challenge of playing two different characters. What's spectacular about these two is that while they're very different people, they actually have quite a similar emotional journey. Both are players of the game, at very different levels, and both have their power ebb and flow throughout the play. And for both of them, the chink in the armor is the deep, personal, devastation that comes with the loss of a certain character (no spoilers!) Both have moments where the loss of this character puts their political calculations on the back burner. So it's exciting and challenging to do this and still make them completely different people physically, vocally, and emotionally. Yeayy acting!!!!!

Doesn't get much more excited than that! (Or does it?!) You'll have to tune in tomorrow for the next edition of Struts & Frets. And be sure not to miss King John, like you've never seen it before!
Tickets are available at -- One weekend only! March 23rd - 26th!

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