The talented Ryan McCurdy, guest actor in Verona Walls was recently seen in Broadway Cares (Once: A New Musical), The Minskoff Theatre, Twelfth Night (Valentine, et al), Center Stage Baltimore and Othello (Iago), 133rd St Arts Center. Neither a Montague nor a Capulet, let’s see what he has to say about being Mercutio.
Q. As an actor have you done a lot of Shakespeare?
A. Gratefully, yes. I read and performed Shakespeare as a teenage actor, studied it all through college, earned my Equity card with it, and have carried it into my professional
career. I think I’ve done Midsummer Night’s Dream the most times (4?) and have encountered Romeo & Juliet before as a sound designer and performed in West Side Story as Riff, both during my undergrad at SCAD.
Q. What is the biggest challenge of playing Mercutio in this production?
A. The breadth of his experience in the course of two hours. Laura has written an incredibly dense, immaculately thought-out script in which Mercutio and his surroundings are thrown akimbo, rearranged, forced, and ultimately changed forever. And – as an actor’s challenge – just how many times the guy speaks.
Q. What similarities and differences do you note between the classical Mercutio and your guy?
A. His propulsion is the same. His sense of humor, his rakishness, his confident sexuality, all the same. Even though everyone in the play speaks a mixture of colloquial tongues,
that doesn’t feel so different from Shakespeare’s man. I’d love a shot at Mercutio in R&J after this (hopefully along with everyone else in this show), because I think Laura has given us so many clues into his deeper life.
Q. How do you hope your character is received?
A. With laughter. With sincerity. With an open mind for the power each of us has to rise above our surroundings, be bigger than their beliefs, and truly live