What made you audition for Dionysus/Xanthias?
Hamish: I am in third year currently and had never been involved in the play, yet always heard it was good fun. When I found out this year we were performing a musical comedy I wanted to get involved as it’s my favourite type of theatre and I enjoy comedic acting, even if I’m not sure about my musical ability. I never expected to get a major part but auditioned for one because it gave me a chance to sing/rap You’re Welcome from Moana in the audition and never pass up a chance to do that. When I got the part I was genuinely terrified and convinced someone had made a mistake.
Wilkie: After being in Medea last year I knew I wanted to be in the Classics Play again, and I auditioned for Xanthias mostly because I wanted to play a more comedic character, especially since comic plays don’t get put on much at Warwick. Also I knew I wanted to sing Zero to Hero from Disney’s Hercules for my audition and I thought a more comedic character would fit that song.
Do you have a favourite scene? If so why?
Hamish: My personal favourite scene is when Dionysus, while dressed as Hercules, is confronted by two hotel owners Hercules cheated when he was last in Hades. One of the owners goes ballistic and almost attacks Dionysus and has to be restrained, allowing for some physical comedy. Not only is the scene very funny but the director’s instructions to me here were: “Be as pretentious and condescending as you possibly can.” And every time we perform this scene I take enormous pleasure in doing just that.
Wilkie: I do enjoy the scene where Aecus whips Dionysus and myself, it’s just such a fun and ridiculous scene and I can’t wait to do it in front of an audience. I also love my song and any scene where I get to interact with the audience.
What do you think the characterisation of Dionysus and Xanthias add to the comedy?
Hamish: Dionysus is portrayed in the play as stuck up, idiotic and childlike, to use nicer words.
This means that Dionysus becomes the butt of a number of jokes, but also almost everything he does has some comedic element to it. It is true he grows and develops as a person/god over the course of the play, but he never entirely shakes off these qualities and is thus always entertaining.
Wilkie: I play Xanthias as an incredibly metatheatrical character, always looking to the audience for support, and the fact that they are always in on his jokes makes his character and the play as a whole so much more relatable.
How would you describe your character in one sentence?
Hamish: Dionysus is a massive man-child with delusions of brilliance and little sense of his own idiocy… this the reason I was chosen to play the part.
Wilkie: The audience’s best friend.
How are you finding the rehearsals and what are you enjoying about being in the play?
Hamish: I am sincerely loving the rehearsals, working out how we will stage each scene and experimenting with different ideas is a very enjoyable process. The cast and crew are great fun to be around and create a genuinely entertaining environment to work in. Moreover, the rehearsals provide an extremely welcome relief from actual work and are a useful excuse for me to not write my dissertation – Unless it is a member of the classics faculty reading this, in which case it’s difficult to fit rehearsing in around all the work I’m doing for my course.
Wilkie: Rehersals are just lots of fun, everyone in the cast is such good friends and it’s so great to get to experience this bonkers play with them all. One thing I love is how open our director Kelsi has been to all of my ideas for Xanthias, which means I get to do a lot of fun stuff on stage.