Royal Shakespeare Company regular Jonathan Slinger has been cast alongside emerging actress Emily Taaffe in the ensemble that will perform three plays as part of the World Shakespeare Festival.
Slinger and Taaffe, whose credits include The Veil, The Cherry Orchard and Nation at the National Theatre, are joined in The Comedy Of Errors, Twelfth Night and The Tempest by Palestinian RSC debutant Amer Hlehel, who was seen most recently in ShiberHur’s production of In The Penal Colony at the Young Vic.
Slinger, who most recently played Macbeth for the RSC and appeared in the West End production of Yes Prime Minister, will portray put upon servant Malvolio in Twelfth Night and vengeful wizard Prospero in The Tempest, while Taaffe takes the roles of love-struck cross-dresser Viola in Twelfth Night and protected daughter Miranda in The Tempest. Hlehel will play Caliban in Twelfth Night.
The full ensemble also includes Ankur Bahl, Sarah Belcher, Amie Burns Walker, Kirsty Bushell, Nicholas Day, Sandy Grierson, Stephen Hagan, Felix Hayes, Solomon Israel, Jan Knightley, Bruce Mackinnon, Jonathan McGuinness, Kevin McMonagle, Cecilia Noble and Sargon Yelda.
Speaking about the project, RSC Associate Director David Farr said: “In these plays again and again Shakespeare returns to the image of man or woman as a drop in the ocean seeking another drop. He describes love and passion as being like the sea, and he sees in shipwreck the destruction and the revival of the self. For a man who appears never to have left his country he travelled far in his imagination. I look forward to continuing that journey with the wonderful cast we have with us, from great RSC actors such as Jon Slinger and Nick Day to the unique Palestinian performer Amer Hlehel.”
The What Country Friends Is This? trilogy opens at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in March before moving to London’s Roundhouse in June and July. It returns to the RSC’s Stratford home following its season in the capital, where it runs until October.