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MEET THE CAST: Shawn Williams

Q: Position/Role with the show?
A: Collatinus

Q: Brief background about yourself?
A: I am a Cleveland, Ohio native...which also makes me an honorary NBA Champion! From 4th grade through 12th grade, I attended Cleveland School of the Performing Arts (CSA). For the first two years we were exposed to all of the arts, and by the end of our 6th grade year is when we were required to declare a major. Being an art major at the time, I thought I was too advanced for the projects we were being assigned and decided to switch my major to theater. As over the top as the switch may have been for a 6th grader, I'm confident I made the best choice. I mention all of that to share how I started acting, but to also say that I've been known to make "dramatic" decisions from early on.

Q: Any previous experience with NYSX?
A: I was fortunate enough to play the role of Publius, in the first staged reading of this play last year. Prior to that, I believe I'd auditioned for NYSX twice.

Q: Favorite thing to do outside of theatre?
A: I would have to say what I enjoy most is having random conversations with my 4yr old daughter, Julia. Her imagination is out of control. What start's off as a general question or comment, usually spirals into this impromptu improvisation about various Disney characters and how they might interact with us, should we ever meet. Did I mention that she's 4 years old? Lol!

Q: Favorite Shakespeare play and why?
A: The Merchant of Venice. To be honest, I've never really thought about the "why" until now. In 2004, I was on tour doing Romeo & Juliet, and on our day off, we decided to see a production of Merchant at the Denver Center for Performing Arts. I can't remember the actors' names, but their performances moved this play to the top of my list. A close second would be Macbeth: I think this play gives a clear-cut example of how misguided ambition for wealth/power, ultimately leads to death and destruction.

Q: Three words to describe the play?
A: Revealing - Scary - Introspective

Q: Why is Shakespeare (and adaptations of Shakespeare) still relevant and important?
A: I think the relevancy speaks for itself. Most of the topics covered by Shakespeare, from love to misogyny, are all very relatable. The unfortunate side of this relatability, especially in respect to what occurs in Lucrece, is the fact that not much progress has been made in over four hundred years. That's where the importance comes into play...continuing to use popular art as a way to spark not only conversations, but change.

Q: What about this production excites you?
A: What excites me the most about this production, is the fact that everyone involved has a great sense of humor. We're tackling such a heavy and loaded topic, and yet we continuously manage to keep each other laughing throughout the process. I love to laugh and that is definitely happening...along with acting and other work tasks of course.

Q: What do you hope audiences take away from watching Lucrece?
A: Hopefully Lucrece erases the idea for some, that Shakespeare is impossible to understand or too complex to enjoy.