ARTIST PROFILE: Allen Darby, The Liar’s Philiste

Meet Allen Darby, Philiste in The Liar, Fleance and Young Siward in Macbeth, and Belvile in The Rover in the 2015 Santa Cruz Shakespeare Summer Festival.

Allen Darby Santa Cruz Shakespeare

Where are you from originally? Where do you call home now?

I’m a unicorn, a born and raised San Franciscan. We’re so rare, we’re magical.

How did you come to be a part of Santa Cruz Shakespeare’s 2015 festival? Do you have a history with us, or is this your first time?

This is my first summer with the festival! I worked with Art Manke, director of The Liar, last fall on Enter the Guardsman at the Jewel Theater, so I already knew Santa Cruz a little bit. Then I auditioned in February and was lucky enough to make it into the intern program.

What has your experience been like working with Santa Cruz Shakespeare this season?

I really enjoy collaborating with my fellow interns and company members. It’s humbling and enlightening to watch seasoned professionals work with us youngin’s on an equal playing field. It’s a privilege to witness such amazing actors, directors, designers and stage managers doing what they love. The passion and sense of play permeates the air in the rehearsal room and on stage. Sorry for that bit of alliteration (passion, play, permeates) after rehearsing witty pentameter it gets stuck in your head.

Allen Darby (Philiste) and Darek Riley(Alcippe) in Santa Cruz Shakespeare’s The Liar by David Ives. Photo by Shmuel Thaler.

Allen Darby (Philiste) and Darek Riley (Alcippe) in Santa Cruz Shakespeare’s The Liar by David Ives. Photo by Shmuel Thaler.

Tell us about the character(s) you’re playing. How did you approach the role(s)? Was there anything you discovered about your characters and/or the play during the rehearsals and performances? What was it like to work on multiple roles at once?

When I first read The Liar, I saw Philiste as a somewhat snooty, stuck up French fop always trying to make sure everyone knew their place. But during rehearsal, Art pointed out that he’s actually the Raisonneur, or voice of reason to the play. Instead of putting people in their place, he’s keeping everyone calm and reveling in the fact that no one is telling the truth, even he himself! In today’s archetypes I’d call him the Chandler Bing, from Friends, of the group. Realizing this totally turned the character around for me. He went from a stick in the mud, to a guy just trying to make sure the world doesn’t spin out of control.

What have been some of your favorite things to do in the Santa Cruz area when you weren’t rehearsing/working?

Going to the beach and getting to know my fellow interns. The last time I did a show in Santa Cruz, I commuted everyday from San Francisco, so it’s been nice to settle for a while and explore the town.

What is your favorite Shakespeare play? Why?

I have two.

I love the language in King Lear, it’s so choppy and mechanical and makes you ache inside. I love when words can do that to you.  And I love the magic and mischief in The Tempest. There’s so many opportunities for fun in that play.

What is your favorite Shakespearean insult?

I’ll take any excuse to call someone a strumpet.

Why should people come to see Santa Cruz Shakespeare’s plays this summer?

The chance to see four completely different shows in one of the most amazing venues I’ve had the pleasure to perform in. We’ll take you to Napa, Paris, Scotland, and Woodstock all in the course of a week. Where else can you get that?

Tickets on sale now for the 2015 season, which features three outdoor productions, starting with the wickedly romantic Shakespeare comedy Much Ado About Nothing, opening July 3; followed by David Ives’s modern adaptation of the wickedly hilarious 17th century farce, The Liar, opening July 24; and Shakespeare’s wicked tragedy, Macbeth, opening August 7. Plus, SCS continues the tradition of its intern-showcasing Fringe production with four performances of the wickedly festive comedy The Rover, starting August 18.


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