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MEET THE CAST: Leighton Samuels

Q: Position/Role with the show:
A: Sextus Tarquinius

Q: Brief background about yourself:
A: Born and raised in Houston, Texas, went to college at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and have been acting and fight directing professionally in and around New York for three years now.

Q: Any previous experience with NYSX:
A: None at all. Excited for this first!

Q: Favorite thing to do outside of theatre:
A: Friends, and all kinds of games. Playing or watching pretty much any kind of game, really. Football, baseball, tabletop RPG, Board games, the list just keeps going.

Q: Favorite Shakespeare play and why:
A: Henry IV part 1. The relationships are so strong throughout, whether it be Hal and Falstaff, Hal and his father, Hal and Hotspur, even Hotspur and Lady Hotspur. There's so much to dig into, layers to explore, and then you end it with one of the best fights in Shakespeare’s Canon. It also demonstrates a sense of respect between enemies in war that has been lost in recent history.

Q: Three words to describe the play:
A: Hilarity, surprise, gut-punch

Q: Why is Shakespeare (and adaptations of Shakespeare) still relevant and important?
A: The human condition is the human condition, no matter the time period. We all crave love, covet power, feel rejection, and Shakespeare’s plays hit all of these themes at their very cores. Through these plays, we learn about our innermost selves, and are also better able to empathize with others' struggles.

Q: What about this production excites you?
A: It's a story that's rarely told, but it is the catalyst for such a drastic and important turning point in history. It's an opportunity to bring it to life with a full arc that will make you laugh, cry, and want to crawl in a hole (Cheers, Kevin!)

Q: What do you hope audiences take away from watching Lucrece?
A: It's never your fault as a victim. Never. It's important that we support survivors of sexual assault, and find ways to educate everyone from a young age that no matter who you are or what your situation is, you are never entitled to another person's body. Lucrece's experience is shared by far too many people.