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Interview with our Leonato, Christopher Randolph

Role in the show?

Leonato (the Dad)

Brief background?

Born in Boston Mass., I grew up and went to college there and then got an MFA in acting in San Diego before moving to New York City. I have a sister who’s an actor and a brother who’s a rock and roll singer/songwriter, both very talented; but, I mean, my poor suffering parents: how many school plays and talent shows did they have to come to? At least my youngest sister is a Mom. I’ve been acting for 32 years now professionally, and another 15 years before that non-professionally. That makes me sound really old but I started doing plays in the 6th grade and basically that was all I thought about after that, to the detriment of most of my school work. I’m also a director, though I’ve only been directing for the last 5 years or so. I really enjoy that process as well, and it’s refreshing and informative to go back and forth between the two disciplines. Beyond that, hmmmm... I love to cook, swim, sail and ski. I think that New York City is the best place in the world to live, particularly Brooklyn, but getting away into nature every now and then is essential. My favorite vegetable is avocado and my spirit animal is….. wait, this is a dating app, right….?

Favorite Shakespeare play and why?

They are all brilliant, but I’d have to say Measure For Measure. It was the first full Shakespeare production I ever acted in, and it’s a complex, difficult, funny and disturbing piece, with terrific characters and gorgeous language. I’d love to do it again. Like a lot of Shakespeare’s plays it is entirely appropriate and applicable to our lives and struggles today. How did he DO that…?

Two words to describe Much Ado?

Love conquers pride. (yeah, ok, that’s 3. I was never good at filling out forms).

What kind of preparation did you do for the role?

Reading reading reading. Also, mouth exercises (beyond just eating pizza).

What makes this adaptation different from another Shakespeare play you’ve been in?

As the rapid advance of technology increasingly takes over our lives it’s important to recognize the downside of a world where information bombards us so relentlessly and as such speed. I think this production emphasizes that what’s essential in the end is the direct human connections we make, and the need to embrace and trust those over and above the artificial world technology sucks us into. Shakespeare was above all a humanist, and this production highlights that by showing that a 400 year old play is full of characters who wrestle with the same human issues we all do today.

What is the most difficult aspect of your role or the play?

Tapping into a place where killing someone you love dearly for the sake of honor feels like the right thing to do.