For one night only, the sultry nights and cascading music of New Orleans come together with the poetry of Stratford Upon Avon. Tap into the spirit of the night for some romance, cocktails, masks, beads and adventure…
Mark your calendars and prepare to style yourself as a Shakespearean character, a famous New Orleanian, or a provocative mash-up of your own design. Masks are optional… and just a little decadent.
Artistic Director Tim Errickson sat down with Amanda Jones (Imogen) and Brian Robert Burns (Posthumus) to talk about their roles in Boomerang’s current production of Shakespeare’s CYMBELINE, directed by Boomerang Associate Artistic Director Cailín Heffernan. CYMBELINE runs thru July 19th in Central Park.
Tim Errickson: Hi guys! We’ll start with Amanda…Amanda, you’ve worked with Cailin a few times now. How did you guys meet?
Amanda Jones: A few years ago, I was playing Marie Antoinette in a show called “The Color of Flesh.” (great title, right?)
Brian Robert Burns: Makes me think of “Silence of the Lambs”…
AJ: The director, Bob Kalfin, brought her in to teach us period manners and movement, in which Cailin is something of an expert. (She had less to teach me. Everyone else bows to the Queen; the Queen just stands there and looks grand)
AJ: That’s right! She emailed me late one night to ask if I would be interested in replacing someone who had dropped out. I said yes right away.
TE: Had you worked together between LLL and Color of Flesh?
AJ: She’d called me in to audition…But otherwise, no. She just has an amazing memory.
TE: Brian, you had just finished up the National Tour of War Horse before this, right?
BRB: It always kinda feels* like we just got back from tour. A lot of the memories and experiences are still so fresh, and a lot of the cast has stayed in pretty frequent touch. However, we got back in late August and I think auditions were in… April?
TE: Something like that, I think. How long were you on tour?
BRB: Over two years. 800+ performances, 70+ cities. I’m very fortunate.
TE: That’s incredible. Let’s talk about Cymbeline. For both of you, what’s been your favorite thing about working on this play?
AJ: Can I say more than one thing?
TE: Sure, say anything
AJ: First, Imogen is a wonderful character. One of my professors in college just loved her, and he got me loving her, too. She’s been on my list since then. She’s such a badass, not passive, but funny and tough.
TE: Someone said this is your dream role, right?
AJ: It is. One of them, anyways. There’s a list, but it isn’t long. And second, working with Brian. And everyone else. Boomerang finds amazing people, so committed and dedicated and talented.
BRB: I discovered how satisfying it is to do Shakespeare outside. When you’re in a box, you fill the box as best you can, you hit the back wall, etc. When you’re outside, literally, the sky is the limit. When you look out, it’s into the horizon. When you look up, you look up into infinity and you can fill it with all you can muster. It’s limitless. Also, this is just a tremendous group. I’m very fortunate to be working with such talented generous people.
TE: Had either of you seen the show or worked on Cymbeline before this production?
AJ: I know. I’m very glad we’re not overlapping with a certain other production, to escape any comparisons to a certain other Imogen.
BRB: I agree. This one is solely ours.
TE: We’ll fare just fine in any comparison.
AJ:I believe it.
TE: In the play, you two play lovers who are separated right away. How do you approach playing a relationship that’s fully in motion right from the start? Rather than playing people who meet and fall, which has already happened for your characters when we meet them in the first scene.
AJ:It’s crazy right? We have like ten lines to establish a relationship. And less than that to reconcile at the end.
BRB:In a way it’s nice to not have to show how we are with each other. And with Amanda it’s so easy.
AJ: The feeling is mutual. I think the chemistry we have certainly helps. And we were able to establish some back story during table work.
BRB: At that point when we first see them, love is easy and exciting. I feel the nature of their relationship in this play, the passion etc, comes from our behavior when we’re away from each other. That can be just as telling about the relationship as it is about the individual. How you represent your relationship to others when your partner isn’t around is quite revealing. Imogen makes Posthumus better than he is. And we see that by the way he bumbles around without her, creating fires.
AJ: I think the thing I loved discovering most – because lots of people said things like, “Why does Imogen stay with that jerk?” – is that Imogen is as quick to believe that Posthumus has betrayed her with another woman when it comes up. She gets past it more quickly, but she also has Pisanio backing her up.
BRB: Yes- proximity is, in itself, a form of security. And they’ve never been away from each other! It’s terrifying!
AJ: Right! I think there are a few examples of couples in Shakespeare who think they are Epic and Their Love Is Like No Other (as all young lovers do). And it’s wonderfully dramatic (and funny) to see them thrown off balance when they realize things are more complicated than that.
TE: In addition to being separated right away, you both have a lot of singing and dancing to do in the show.
BRB: And, for my part, falling apparently!
AJ: Yes! So fun!
TE: Had either of you sung or danced much in previous shows?
AJ:A bit. I did more musicals in high school and college, but I’ve always loved to dance.
TE: Brian how about you? You also have a lot of guitar playing in the show.
BRB: Not so much. There was only one show that i can think of. Similar to this one, it incorporated a lot of music, dance, and fight choreography. A lot of dance, a lot of capoeira. It was pretty cool. I enjoy it, but I rarely get the opportunity to do it. There was some community singing in War Horse too, but not any dancing. I don’t really think I’ve played guitar in a show before… this might be the first! And, man playing in a fifteen person band in public is awesome!!!
AJ: I’m so in awe of the multiple-threats in this show. Cailin really makes the most of everything everyone can do.
BRB: The amount of talent is staggering.
TE: She loves the triple threats, that’s for sure
BRB: The way Michael (Russink) and Roger (Lipson) and Hannah (Hartmann) make their transitions so seamlessly and effortlessly is incredible.
TE: Alright, last question….When you aren’t performing in Cymbeline, what are some of your favorite summertime NYC activities?
AJ:Midsummer Night’s Swing at Lincoln Center: So sweaty, so worth it. Movies, to cool off. Getting an ice cream and walk all the way east or west to the riverside in the evening to catch a breeze.
BRB: I live right by Astoria Park, so on the sunny days, I’ll head there and read and get some sun. Being from California, the sun and water are rejuvenating to me, and the park affords me both. I also write and record my own music and train in Mixed Martial Arts at Tiger Schulmanns. But eating ice cream is the best. Amanda, looks like we need to get ice cream…
TE: I had no idea you trained MMA, Brian. That’s incredible.
AJ: He told me I have “heavy hands” (Edit: an MMA term to describe someone who punches very hard) when we were learning our fights. I was so proud!
BRB: Better to hang on to you with, lady! I’ve been a fight sports fan all my life and finally this year I decided to fit a mouth piece and get after it. I love it.
TE: Have you had any bouts?
BRB: Actually, I’m just starting to learn. Building a foundation. I think by the end of the year, I’ll enter an in-house tournament. But right now, I’m just learning basics and technique. Hitting pads and such. Plus, my mother would kill me if I ever actually fought!
AJ: Poor mom.
Cymbeline runs July 11th, 12th, 18th and 19th at 2pm in Central Park (enter at 72nd and Central Park West) Additional details can be found here. Cymbeline is free, no tickets or reservations are required.
We are moving closer to our goal of 200 donations of $25 to support our Outdoor Shakespeare program. Thanks so much to those who have already donated!
As an incentive today…each $25 credit card donation before 6pm today is entered for a chance to win two tickets to see SOMETHING ROTTEN! on Broadway at the St. James Theater this Spring!
“The time is the ’90s — the 1590s. Brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom are desperate to write a hit play but are stuck in the shadow of that Renaissance rockstar known as The Bard. When a local soothsayer foretells that the future of theatre involves singing, dancing and acting at the same time, Nick and Nigel set out to write the world’s very first musical!“
Every donation in increments of $25 is another chance to win ($25 gets you one chance, $50 gets you two chances and so on…).
The opportunity to win two Broadway show tickets for $25? You can’t beat that anywhere in town!
Since 1999, Boomerang Theatre Company has provided free productions of Shakespeare’s greatest plays on summer afternoons in parks throughout New York City. These productions are a vital part of New York City’s cultural life, allowing any audience member a chance to attend the theatre without the burden of a ticket price.
For many people, it’s their first time ever seeing a play.
We’re back for our 17th Season in the park with Shakespeare’s late magical romance CYMBELINE, and we need your help to make these extraordinary moments continue.
We’re seeking 200 donations of $25 to support this program by Friday April 17th at midnight. Won’t you play a part?
For anyone who hadn’t seen the remarkable artwork for LOVE’S LABOUR’S LOST, here it is again. Stefano Imbert has outdone himself this season, which includes this piece and the art for A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM. LLL is directed by Boomerang Associate Artistic Director Cailín Heffernan.
LOVE’S LABOUR’S LOST opens August 14th in Bryant Park at 7pm. The production runs until August 30th.
Would you like to make a donation to support the show? We value your financial support now more than ever.
Thank you in advance!
On Monday July 14th, we began rehearsals for our upcoming production of LOVE’S LABOUR’S LOST,directed by Boomerang Associate Artistic Director Cailin Heffernan. I wanted to share a few pics from the table read. Yes, there are a lot of people in this tiny room!
LOVE’S LABOUR’S LOST runs August 14th-30th in Bryant Park (42nd Street and 6th Avenue)
Would you like to make a donation to help support this production? Please click here!