An interview with actors Jessica B. Hill and Jordin Hall, both currently part of two shows in the Stratford Festival's current season. Namely, Shakespeare's All's Well That Ends Well and Richard III. Our conversation focuses on their leading roles as Helen and Bertram in All's Well That Ends Well.
In this episode of Afropolitan Dialogues, we speak with Jessica B. Hill and Jordin Hall. The two actors are currently performing leading roles as Helen and Bertram in the Stratford Festival's current production of Shakespeare's All's Well That Ends Well. They're also both concurrently playing Richard III. Performances for both plays are taking place at Stratford's new Tom Patterson Theatre.
Helen, the orphaned daughter of a renowned physician, is in love with Bertram, son of her guardian, the Countess of Rossillion; but while the Countess is well disposed to such a match, Bertram himself does not return Helen's affections. His attention focused on a forthcoming military adventure, he departs for Paris, to the court of the King of France, from where he intends to proceed to Italy and enlist in the service of the Duke of Florence.
Directed by Scott Wentworth, All's Well That Ends Well runs until October 29th, 2022. Wentworth describes All's Well That Ends Well as a complicated riddle, maddeningly simple, hysterically sad and heartbreakingly funny.
Often referred to as a "problem play," All's Well That Ends Well is a lesser-known Shakespearian play than its iconic companion, Richard III. Jordan and Jessica explain how this is somewhat freeing, allowing them to lead the audience through the story and keep the suspense alive. How many Shakespeare plays don't most people already know the ending for?
We also speak of the underlying significance of having two Black actors playing romantic leads on a major stage.
This is Black love at Stratford.
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Tom Patterson Theatre
Jue 14 - October 29, 2022
Having worked a seemingly miraculous cure on the deathly ill King of France, Helen, the orphaned daughter of a celebrated physician, claims as her reward the hand of Bertram, the young lord she adores. She already has the blessing of his mother, the Countess of Rossillion, but Bertram himself resents being forced into an arranged marriage. It looks like Helen needs another miracle to win his heart – till Bertram’s own roving eye enables an audacious remedy.
This production is set during the First World War.
House Program: All's Well That Ends Well
Runtime: Two hours and 53 minutes, including one 18-minute intermission