A Tale of Two Venetians

A Venetian in Stratford and Dubai

Venice Preserved Title Card
Venice Preserved

Back to Stratford-upon-Avon for me. I’ll be playing Jaffeir in Prasanna Puwanaraja’s production of Venice Preserved.

We start rehearsals in late February and it’ll then play in rep with Phil Breen’s production of The Provoked Wife from 24 May until 7 September.

Jodie McNee Image
Jodie McNee

So far only Jodie McNee (playing Belvidera) has been announced in the cast but more information will be coming soon. The play is a Restoration Revenge Tragedy originally performed in February 1682, with Elizabeth Barry as Belvidera. I’ll be playing her husband Jaffeir, it’s a really exciting part and I’m thrilled to be working with Prasanna again (it’ll be 10 years next year since we worked together in Thyestes at the Arcola). His new (brilliantly cut) version of the play should be a real rollercoaster.

But before then I’ll be playing Roderigo in ETT’s production of Othello for a week… in Dubai!

Othello ETT Poster

The ETT’s production is making one final stop on it’s tour and Brian Lonsdale (who played Roderigo both on the tour and in it’s original iteration at the Tabacoo Factory) is off to pastures new so muggins here is taking over.

It’ll be exciting to revisit the play I last did with Three’s Company in the Pauper’s Pit in Buxton in 2004.

I was lucky enough to work in the Pauper’s Pit Theatre many times as I grew up, it was a home to so many memories and milestones for myself and many in Buxton and will always be missed, it closed in 2016 to be turned back in to Roman Bath’s as part of Buxton Crescent’s redevelopment.

Michael and Yaz in Othello (2004)
Michael and Yaz in Othello (2004)

I don’t think I’d be able to count how many times I worked in that brilliant little 40 seater with the REC Theatre and Martin Beard and helping out at Underground Venues. Three’s Company performed many times in the Pit, our second time there (Reverie I think was our last) saw our first∗ Shakespeare production – Yaz took on the title role in Othello, I played Iago and Tom directed and played Roderigo.

Tony and the Clopatraz in Othello (2004)
Tony and the Clopatraz in Othello (2004)

It was quite an eye opener of an experience, we were naive in how you should go about tackling Shakespeare but that meant we were fearless. A not perfect production (when is it perfect I suppose) but one filled with ideas and moxie.

I’m looking forward to seeing the play from a very different perspective when we begin our 2 weeks of rehearsal next month.

So, 2019 is looking eventful, here’s to Rodergio and Jaffeir, my two Venetians.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

∗ and currently only Shakespeare Production, apart from Shakesperience at the EdFringe and working with Smooth Faced Gentlemen.

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