In our “The Measure of Measure” series, we interviewed castmembers of Measure for Measure about how they approached their characters in this challenging play. Today we learn about Elbow, First Gentleman, and Singing Boy, all played by one multitalented B&H newcomer!
- Who are you and who do you play?
My name is Aurelia Khorsand, and in Measure for Measure, I portray Elbow, First Gentleman, and Singing Boy.
- What prior Shakespeare experience do you have?
This is my first Shakespeare production and I’m excited to be a part of it. I’m learning quite a bit about how to study the language and how it is important to truly understand it in order to perform to the fullest. Although I am completely new to performing his works, I have been exposed to the Elizabethan language and culture quite a bit thanks to six years of performing at different renaissance faires across the country, including Virginia, New York, and Bristol.
Tell us about your characters. What motivates them?
I play characters that all have extremely different attitudes towards the strict culture of the Vienna they live in. Elbow, a simple constable in the words of the bard himself, is a rule follower to the extreme. Deep down, he’s wildly insecure – perhaps he knows he’s not the sharpest tool in the shed. But he’s been given a badge and power does strange things to little people, so he takes his position very seriously. In his eyes, any rule-breaker should suffer the full wrath of the law. The world is very black and white to Elbow, even though he sees the laws through rose-colored glasses.
The First Gentleman is on the opposite side of the spectrum from Elbow. To him, the laws are there, but not binding. He does his own thing – if he’s going to go have fun, he’s going to do it how he wants. He almost flaunts his apathy to the authorities – wantonly drinking in front of officers and offering them alcohol. Nothing is taken seriously.
Singing Boy, although a small role, is interesting because he is so removed from what is going on. You have someone that could go down either path – will he be an Elbow or a First Gentleman? How will he interpret the laws and fit into this strict and flawed society?
- You’re one of the few actors in this production playing more than one role. What are the challenges of playing multiple characters? Which character is your favorite?
It’s a delightful challenge to play more than one character, mostly because they are so radically different. Elbow and First Gentleman wouldn’t even be friends in real life – I’m sure Elbow would try to arrest First Gentleman for his debauchery. Their characters need to be conveyed differently not only in their lines but in their physical attitude and reactions to what is going on around them.
Elbow is by far my favorite. He’s just so over the top. Personally, I’d hope to never let myself get that publicly upset, but Elbow has no self-control and just lets loose with his emotion. It’s fun to get that worked up.
- What else do you feel the audience should know about your character and the play itself?
This is a comedy – find humor in it. In real life, there are always Elbows to laugh at and First Gentleman to hang out with. I hope to be a happy medium between Elbow and First Gentleman; taking things seriously and fighting for what is right, but also knowing when to have fun and be free with others. No matter how dark reality seems, look for the light and bring others with you into it.