Scar in “The Lion King.” The Green Goblin in “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.” The titular green guy in “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” The actor Patrick Page (“Hadestown”) has played every one of those Broadway villains—and he brings all that experience to bear in the Off-Broadway solo show he both wrote and stars in, “All the Devils Are Here.”
Listen to this week’s “Stagecraft” podcast below:
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Subtitled “How Shakespeare Invented the Villain,” the show delves into all the ways the Bard depicted bad guys and evil-doers with depth, nuance and humanity that were, at the time, revolutionary. In the latest episode of “Stagecraft,” Variety’s theater podcast, Page theorized that his famously deep voice has probably contributed to his frequent casting in villain roles.
“There’s a strong tradition in the theater of those roles being more bass roles. I suppose that comes from opera,” he said. And that tradition only contributes to the enduring habit that audiences have of judging a book by its cover: “People still reflexively attach certain attributes to certain kinds of people. Sometimes it’s a vocal characteristic, or a physical characteristic, or behavioral characteristic. We’re all guilty of that to some degree or another.”
Page, who’s a classical actor in addition to his work in Broadway musicals, thinks Shakespeare’s explorations of his villains’ humanity have become urgently relevant. “Shakespeare has something to say to us right now,” he said. “We’re at a moment where we seem to choose sides very quickly and decide that someone is good or someone is bad, and then align with the good and identify ourselves with the good. I think it’s a very perilous thing to do. It means that we’re not looking inward to say: Well, where might I be mistaken?”
Also on the new “Stagecraft,” Page talked about when he grew into his deep voice and how each individual audience develops its own personality over the course of a performance. In addition, he discussed the many ways that hearing loss has impacted his work and his life—and all the ways things improved, both onstage and off, once he began wearing hearing aids. “I remember going outside and realizing there were birds in my neighborhood, because suddenly I could hear them,” he said.
To hear the entire conversation, listen at the link above or download and subscribe to “Stagecraft” on podcast platforms including Apple Podcasts, Spotify and the Broadway Podcast Network. New episodes of “Stagecraft” are released every other week.
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