After a July run in The Brick’s “Shakespeare in the Theater” festival, This England is extending for four more performances August 25-28 at our old home, IRT Theater. As we prepare for this second run, we're sitting down with our actors to find out why they love performing Shakespeare, what their favorite moments from the show are, and (most importantly), who they side with in the Wars of the Roses.
Next up is Mackenzie Knapp. He previously performed with Strange Harbor at IRT as Fyodor in Dmitri and the Three Thousand Kopeks. In This England, Mack plays Thomas Mowbry, Montjoy, King Edward IV, and Buckingham, as well as serving as our Fight Choreographer.
Strange Harbor: What do you most enjoy about watching and performing Shakespeare?
Mackenzie Knapp: Knowing that people in the 1600's were preoccupied with the same exact things as we are today. These kings weren't chosen by God, they were political agents willing to do whatever it took to make it to the top.
Also, on a lighter note it is always fun to be reminded that these plays were the inspiration for George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire.
SH: Which of your characters do you feel the most connected to? Why?
Mackenzie Knapp: Edward IV. I understand this takes place in England, but he is the embodiment of the American dream. His father had a goal in mind and didn't succeed. But through hard work and discipline Edward built on his father's successes and took the throne.
SH: What has been the hardest challenge in working on this play?
MK: Giving yourself over to trusting the ensemble to carry the play is a courageous act. When you pass the ball without looking you need to trust that someone is going to be on the other end of that pass to catch it. It is so difficult to cultivate that level of trust, but once you do it's fantastic.
SH: What discovery in rehearsal most surprised you?
MK: The song "Watch Out" by 2 Chainz is oddly relevant to this material.
SH: York or Lancaster?
MK: All I do is York York York York York...