1) What’s your name and where do you come from and who do you play?
My name is RJ Seeley, I’m from Rickmansworth and I’m playing Captain Gower/Warwick/Cambridge
2) What is your most memorable / exciting theatrical experience?
My most memorable theatrical experience was when I was a teenager and saw Propellor’s rep production of Taming of the Shrew/Twelfth Night. I already loved Shakespeare but the pure, wild energy and indulgent joy that pulsed from the company’s every word and every action showed me with brilliant clarity what Shakespeare, and really all theatre, can/should be. Though word-perfect and precisely choreographed they made it all seem sporadic and improvised and, though heightened, completely natural within the world they created; assuring us that Shakespeare’s way of telling the story was the only way it could ever be told, yet demonstrating the infinite variety that existed within his text. It was these productions that inspired me to study Shakespeare more in depth and I have since realised I could spend a lifetime doing so and still never complete my knowledge.
3) Who is your biggest theatrical hero / icon?
My biggest theatrical icon is Mark Rylance. Having seen him in Jerusalem, La Bete, Richard III and many productions at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, I am in awe of his ability to connect to a character and create a fully three-dimensional person within every role, whether natural or heightened. Additionally, the clarity and wit with which he speaks classical dialogue is delicious and something I aspire to imitate.
4) What are you most excited about in being part of our all-female Henry V?
For me the most exciting aspect of our all-female Henry V is exploring the comparison between men and women in war. Though in society the differences between our genders are extensive, I believe that in times of crisis and turmoil we naturally embrace a shared need to survive and willingness to undertake any necessities required of us, minimising our differences and highlighting our similarities as humanity surviving. I believe, though certain character traits and intentions may vary in the switch, that whether male or female the characters Shakespeare has created are soldiers first, driven by duty, honour and faith; looking to survive, looking for their comrades to survive and looking to make it home safe, like all people would, and I greatly look forward to exploring these elements with my brothers/sisters on the fields of France/South London.
5) What should an audience expect from Henry V?
The audience should expect from this production a story of a new and unsteady leader finding their way to strength and true resolve; a story of a war and the individuals who would stand up and fight for their country and their leader, whatever the cost and whatever the foe; and, hopefully, a story that calls into question the necessity of war and whether it is ever worth the terrible cost.
6) Some say Henry V is all about games, war games, sport games, board games, what’s your favorite game and why?
My favourite game (board or otherwise) is Monopoly. Though it creates many a feud, I love the tactics and the negotiating, as though you could talk your way to victory whatever the dice say. I also love that it doesn’t really have an end to it, you just have to call it when it’smidnight or your little sister clearly possesses two-thirds of the bank and a hotel on Mayfair…you could keep going but it’s a lost cause, so you surrender and clear the board for a new game. Also, Settlers of Catan is similarly cool.