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article imageAustin Pendleton talks Wars of the Roses: Henry VI & Richard III Special

By Markos Papadatos     Nov 26, 2018 in Entertainment
New York - Acclaimed actor and playwright Austin Pendleton chatted with Digital Journal about his upcoming play "Wars of the Roses: Henry VI & Richard III," which will take place in New York City next week.
The play will take place on December 3, 4 and 5, at Theater for The New City; moreover, it combines texts from William Shakespeare's Henry VI Part 3 and Richard III, to create a new version, that played to sold-out venues and critical acclaim last summer. Pendleton stars as Henry VI and Matt de Rogatis plays Richard III.
On the new play, he said, "When Matt de Rogatis came to me and said he wanted to play Richard III and wanted me to direct it, I was intrigued because I'd seen his Hamlet a year or so before that and I was impressed. I told Matt that I would do it if we could meld the script of Richard III with a play Shakespeare had written a little before that one, King Henry VI, Part 3, into a play that would be shorter than either of those plays would be uncut. Matt said great, let's meld the two plays together. So we did."
Pendleton shared that he is stoked about his role as Henry VI. "I am very excited. Henry is a complex, magnificently written role, and a philosopher king grown from a boy who was crowned when he was nine months old. Henry tries to stay above the chaos in the endless Wars of the Roses, and his efforts to do that finally bring him down."
On his plans for the future, Pendleton said, "I'm going to be on Broadway in Manhattan Theatre Club's production of Choir Boy, by Tarell McCraney, directed by Trip Cullman."
Digital transformation of the entertainment business
Regarding the impact of technology on the entertainment and theater industry, Pendleton said, "It has changed it radically, but the change has been so gradual that it's hard for me to track it step by step."
On his use of technology in his daily routine as an actor and playwright, Pendleton said, "Well, for one thing, I still write my plays in longhand. Then, after having written them, I put them into a final draft. As an actor, I don't quite know how it's different, except I use a computer and I text a whole lot."
For aspiring actors, his advice is as follows: "Go anywhere to act. I still do that. I still do showcases when I'm not keen on the work I have been offered on or off Broadway. Keep the instrument working out. Take classes so you can still face the challenges presented by many different kinds of material. Keep working on your voice, and your body. Keep the faith."
When asked about advice for aspiring playwrights, Pendleton responded, "That one is really tough. The Dramatists Guild has partnered with the New Play Exchange. It gets your scripts online where people looking for new plays on various specific themes can search for them. Try to write play with relatively small casts. They see a play with a large cast, these producers and these non-profits, and they head for the hills. They just can't afford them."
For viewers, he said about Wars of the Roses: Henry VI & Richard III, "I would like to say that seeing the melding of these two plays, Henry VI, Part 3 and Richard III, is like seeing a whole new play. We see the entire arc of several major characters, beginning in Henry VI, Part 3, and continuing into Richard III. We see those arcs in one evening. It's only a little over two and a half hours long. Plus, the actors are wonderful."
To learn more about this highly-anticipated play, Wars of the Roses: Henry VI & Richard III, check out its official website.
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