Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Meet Melanie!

I can't tell you how excited I am to be working with this extraordinary lady once again. You may remember Melanie from last year's Bookend Project, in which she appeared as Tamora in Titus Andronicus and Ariel in The Tempest. She is an incredible ball of energy, this one! Her Tamora absolutely crackled, and her Ariel was graceful and endearing. It is such a pleasure to welcome her back for The Justice Project.

In my post introducing Julia, I talked quite a bit about cross-gender casting. Melanie is tackling one of the most fascinating roles in the canon in Measure -- Angelo. I toyed quite a bit with casting Angelo with an actress. A lot of ladies read for it at callbacks for The Justice Project actually. I want to be clear that I am not in any way going for a homosexual undertone with this casting of Angelo. Angelo feels almost asexual to me, at least at the opening of the play. The other characters describe his sterile, icy, severe, stern nature. The Duke describes him:
Lord Angelo is precise,
Stands at a guard with Envy: scarce confesses
That his blood flows: or that his appetite
Is more to bread than stone (I.iv)
Lucio calls him:
A man, whose blood
Is very snow-broth: one, who never feels
The wanton stings, and motions of the sense;
But doth rebate, and blunt his natural edge
With profits of the mind (I.v)
"Snow-broth" -- one of my favorite images in Shakespeare, right there. This man is not one filled with passion. He is overcome by lust, yes, but he seems almost sexless to me in these early descriptions of his character. So casting a male actor in this role was not a high priority.

To let you into the casting puzzle a little bit, I also had to consider how I was casting The Merchant of Venice. It's a balancing act of female and male across two plays. I needed a Jessica, too! And I knew Melanie was just the right person for this job. I cannot wait for you to see her work this weekend. Don't miss it!

Reserve your tickets here.

MELANIE ARII MAH
(MERCHANT: Jessica, Duke, Solanio; MEASURE: Angelo, Mistress Overdone)

Melanie is honored to be a part of ADK Shakes's Justice Project for a second time around and wishes to thank her wonderfully talented and supportive cast and team for making this production possible. She is a San Francisco native and graduate of Boston University’s School of Theatre (BFA’10). Some of her favorite roles include Ofelia (Hamlet, First Quarto), Athena (The Eumenides), Gertrude (The Underpants), and R.C. (Bug). Thank you to her family and fabulous friends for their continued love and support. This performance is dedicated to her loving father, Melvin Mah, a great father and a best friend to all. 

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