Struts & Frets: Interviews with the Cast & Crew of King John - Leah Alfieri

Well, well, well. Look who we have here. If it isn't Leah Alfieri! (It is, by the way) It's relatively rare that women get to play Shakespeare's royalty, but Hamlet Isn't Dead is all about fixing that. With a female King John, Leah plays her daughter and heir, Henry III! She also play's John's rival to the throne, the young Arthur! But he's being played as a boy. But Henry III is a woman. It's all very confusing.

The only thing that will serve to clear things up is to agree that Leah is amazing, read this stupendous Struts & Frets, and see the show without delay. Deal?


HID: So first thing's first what is your favorite color and what are your characters favorite colors?

LA: The answer for all three is green, and I'm not just saying that to be lazy. For Arthur, it reminds him of where he'd rather be--out in the world (maybe tending sheep?!). Henry prefers a deeper green; it's evocative for her of the ways in which she can preserve her youthful vigor even in the face of great responsibility and tragedy.

HID: Arthur seems pretty uncomfortable about everyone trying to put him in power, but if he secretly had a sadistic side, what would he do as an evil king?

LA: I think that Arthur's closest thing to a "sadistic side" would be a well-intentioned decision with disastrous consequences. So maybe he tries to institute a "Stop Fighting All The Time!!!!!!!!!!!" law and accidentally takes away free speech. 

HID: Arthur also does manage to sweet talk his way out of a really sticky situation. Have you ever talked your way into something or out of a punishment?

LA: I sweet-talked my way into this play. [Editor's Note: Basically, yeah]

HID: Henry is pretty mature for her age, but we bet she still loves to play. What's her favorite game?

LA: Henry is definitely a cards player. Maybe not poker yet, but she's probably recently graduated from something like Uno or Go Fish to something in the bigger league, like Rummy. 

HID: Henry & Arthur are both hardly of age. Is there anything particularly difficult about tackling playing younger characters?

LA: Well, the first step for me when I work on playing younger characters is to establish a very specific physicality. Maybe it's my haircut and/or my frame, but I'm frequently asked to play younger boys; I've learned that there's all sorts of physical layering that needs to be accomplished in order for audiences to suspend their disbelief enough to believe an adult woman as a young boy. In addition to that, children have a fundamentally different way of comprehending and experiencing the world than we do as adults. So as I listen and respond and make choices throughout the play, there's a sort of additional translation process that the events need to go through as they are filtered through the lens of a child. 

Well said, Leah! Come see Leah say lots of other things well (alongside a bunch of other HIDiots) at Hamlet Isn't Dead's King John, opening Wednesday!
Tickets are available at -- One weekend only! March 23rd - 26th!

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