|Though good luck getting as excited as she is to see you.|
HID: We’ll start off simple: What’s the Princess’ favorite color and why? What’s your favorite color?
MG: The Princess can be described as a complicated woman - she's fun, flirty, has a sense of humor, and yet has a quick intelligence and a keen sense of duty - so it wouldn't be fair to limit her to just one color. Not for this royal lass.
She likes being surrounded by warm pinks, oranges, and the very royal red, and yet also responds to blue (which is interesting, because back in Shakespeare's time, a lighter blue was the color that represented young, marriageable women - wink, wink, Navarre! - while deeper shades represented chastity - and another wink for you, Navarre!).
HID: If you were a princess (not to imply that you’re not), what would be your first princess-ly decree?
MG: Oof, this is a loaded question. Not because I don't know - quite the opposite. I have a very specific idea; the problem is that I have to work hard to keep my answer concise... and I also don't want to stop people from coming to see us because I might have ruffled a few feathers - though with our audiences, I doubt that will be a problem. It's nothing they wouldn't know already.
If I were a true-to-form princess, I'd make it a mission for the arts to gain much more public funding than it does in this country, hopefully resulting (and this wouldn't be an overnight thing, it would be a process) in it being regarded as more of a cultural priority here, similar to how it is it in Europe. Not to say that Americans don't like to be entertained, and don't like art - we certainly do. We obviously do. However, unfortunately, the roots of both performing and visual arts don't seem to get the same respect and acknowledgement on a daily basis, and are not as deeply ingrained in our upbringing
I could go on a whole thesis about this (and I certainly wouldn't be the first or last, not by a long shot), but I won't, so I'll sum up the problem I'm referring to in an example. I actually didn't make this up - well, I did put my own silly spin on it, yes, but the main structure of the argument was told to me several years ago by a professor, and man does it still ring true.
Here are two different versions of the same conversation - the first one can be heard anywhere in Europe. The second is usually what I'll hear in America:
- "Hey, I've got two tickets to Hamlet, would you like to come?"
- "Ooh, isn't so-and-so in it? I was really curious about his particular take on the role..."
- "Hey, I've got two tickets to Hamlet, would you like to come?"
- "Nah. I saw it, already... back when I was in high school, when my next-door-neighbor was in it."
Get my point?
HID: Uh…sort of. How is playing the Princess of France different from your previous roles with Hamlet Isn’t Dead?
MG: It’s funny, until joining Hamlet Isn't Dead, I was never really cast as a "lover" in Shakespeare plays. I had gotten to be quite accustomed to playing Mechanicals and other more clown-y roles. I think I tend to confuse casting directors a bit, in that I may have a certain young, even ingenue kind of look - but the second I start talking, the voice doesn't quite match the face. I sometimes sound like my father, with long hair... which, in this case, might actually be ideal... If Lavinia and the Princess are going to take after anyone, it'd be their fathers. At least, I like to imagine so.
As far as their differences - well, besides the obvious fact that the Princess actually lives to see the end of the play, body parts and virginity intact - their positions in life and society differentiate their actions, and how much they are able to get away with. Lavinia has a very specific role to play for her father and family, but it's not one in which she can openly express her own different desires and opinions without facing disgrace, and even paying serious consequences. The arc of Lavinia is as emotionally and physically extreme as you can get on a live stage, at least that I know of.
The Princess, however, is quite progressive as a royal figure, considering the time in which it was written - which makes me wonder if aspects of her personality were loosely based on Elizabeth I. She has a real sense of individuality and boldness, and yet, on the other hand, is compassionate; she posses enough character to admit when she's been mistaken in her actions, which must be a rarity in a royal figure. Although the Princess's arc is absolutely nothing like Lavinia's - to a normal person, it's still wildly nuanced with all of the personal and political stakes at hand.
HID: Any other roles within the Shakespearean canon you’ve got your eye on someday?
MG: Beatrice is my number one - she's the best of all worlds. She's literally food for any actor playing her. She's the funniest person in the room, she falls in love (or gets her second chance with it, which is even better), she's extremely loyal, is full of rage and sadness, and has a wit that even I wish I was blessed with. I come from a witty family, but Beatrice has her Ph.D in wit. Kate from Shrew is a close second... I wouldn't be able to do it with Hamlet Isn't Dead anytime soon, but I guess we can always wait till the rotation comes back around... many, many years... from now...
Regan in King Lear - she's delicious - who doesn't want to do that blinding scene?! Cymbeline, Rosalind, Viola... But my sights go beyond the excellent women in the canon. I'd love to play Benedick, Petruchio (I would have killed to see Janet McTeer's Petruchio at the Globe), Mercutio, Hamlet, Iago... I know I'm forgetting some... and whatever else is thrown my way. I'd love any of it.
HID: Anything else we need to know about you or the show itself?
MG: This is actually my first experience doing anything in the round! I'm not trying to make anyone panic - I swear I'll stay out of everyone's way... and yet still try to show my face. If my butt happens to be facing you a lot during the show... just know that I'm wearing biker shorts underneath my costume, so it's being held modestly in place.
Get some face-time (and possibly some butt-time) with Megan Greener, and the rest of the well-butted cast of Love's Labour's Lost, opening this week! Don't delay; book your seat today!
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