After a busy week of tech runs, dress rehearsals and opening the show Nicolas Tennant who plays Mestor in After Troy talks to us about his character.
Nicolas Tennant (Right) as Mestor with Iain Batchelor as Kratos.
1. Is Mestor a funny or a scary character?
To make objective judgements on any character is dangerous; funny and scary are decisions left for the audience to consider. I side with the playwrite Sam Shepherd and his definition of character; “a person, and what they happen to be doing that day”. Not as enigmatic a statement as at first it seems. Any character is the sum of it’s parts, and hopefully a complex mix of feelings and characteristic’s given vent and definition by the situation and circumstances the playwrite chooses to place them. Most of us are defined by our responses to other people; we are all capable of humorous, kind, jealous, vindictive, caring behaviour depending on the circumstances and situation we find ourselves in.In classic theatrical terms character ‘types’ prevail, romantic lover, dominant clown etc. and so within this definition Mestor is The Clown. He is also a murderer and it is the discovery of this murder that propells the last third of the play. Mestor is a King, his pretentions of Kingship provide the humor; his gawdy appearance, the tiresome use of the royal ‘we’, his divine and absolute dominance of his domain;a small rock of an island whose sole purpose has been to provide a landing base for the mighty Greek Navy. Not least his strange binary style of speaking. Mestor is a tadpole in an ocean but walks like a God on earth. We find this naive and pompous behaviour silly. He is ridiculous. But one dosen’t have to, look too far to find foreign leaders that trade in pompous rethoric, and parade pantomime costume. Recently the Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi compared his despotic rule to that of our very own Queen Elisabeth, a monarch also in her fortieth year of uninterrupted rule, and bemoaned that nobody had a problem with HER still being in power. Silly, well yes. Funny, check out that moustache, the portable bedouin tent, the medals. Scary? A lot of innocent people have died in Libya during the past week, killed as ‘Mad Dog’ turned the army against his own people. We can laugh at these strange foreign rulers because they don’t conform or fit a democratize Western bearing of authority, but many rulers, not just in the Middle East, but in many parts of the world are bullies and tyrants on a monstrous scale. Scary.
2. Being a master of taking both sides, what would Mestor’s alliance with a woman look like?
Mestor is deeply romantic. Whilst there is no mention of the current Queen Mestor, his love for Cassandra consumes him totally. The mention of her name and launches him into fantastic flights of revery that confuse even him. Cassandra shakes him to his core; life is defined by the ‘old time’ before he met her. To ‘new time’, their future together when he finally possess her. When they meet, moments before the fated wedding Mestor ‘stops’ time. Any woman of Mestor’s would not want for anything. Any wish, desire, whim would be fulfilled. But oh, the jealousy would be stifling. Though the lucky lady would have anything she required, every move, thought breath would be watched, day and night. She would be under constant scrutiny, Mestor’s infatuation would leave no room outside acquaintances. She would be a virtual prisoner. Small price to pay? Come on girls, give you the world and it’s still not enough.
3.Do you often dream of an island bearing your name?
Whilst Tennant Island has a certain Housing Association ring to it, and my ego could do with the flattery, I don’t think I’d like the responsibility of having an island named after me, the admin alone would be a nightmare…