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Tarell Alvin McCraney is International Playwright in Residence for the RSC.  I asked him to tell us a bit about himself and his work for the RSC.

Tarell Alvin McCraney, Director, RSC Hamlet, 2010 by Ellie Kurttz

Q: Can you tell us a bit about your role?

A: The International Playwright in Residence gets to observe the world of Shakespeare being created by the RSC and hopefully gain understanding and knowledge of the tools William Shakespeare uses to tell his sometimes epic and at the same time detailed stories. By the end of the tenure the hope is to have a new play that has been inspired by those tools and story telling.

Q: Your adaptation of Hamlet for state schools in London is being described as a ‘high-energy version of Shakespeare’s play’.  Could you explain how you adaptation aims to ‘remove the obstacles’ preventing young people from seeing and enjoying Shakespeare?

A: I think the obstacles preventing most young people from enjoying Shakespeare is access and engagement. The RSC as a whole has already worked really hard to allow for the barrier of accessibility to be brought down. So I am just helping with this paired down Hamlet to engage students, hopefully.

Q: Can you tell us about other projects you are working on or planning for the RSC in 2010?

A: I am writing a play for the RSC about some very adult themes. 😉

Q: What was your first ever play about?

A: My first play ever was about Two boys – the Son of a drug Dealer, and the Son of a Baptist Minister, who fall in love.

Q: Tell us something unusual about yourself.

A: I LOVE PEANUT BUTTER. And I can’t stand Fish pie.

Q: What makes you laugh?

A: When my friends catch each other in awkward moments. The repetition of awkward is hilarious. That and when Dominic Cook gets shy. It’s funny.

Q: Describe your perfect day.

A: Beach, Words. Beach. Movies. Beach Dance. Dance. Sleep. Perfect.

Q: What do you regard as the highlight of your career so far?

A: I’m still living em… I’ll get back to you in about 30 years.

Q: Favourite RSC moments?

A: Richard II performance at the Gala last year.

Q: Favourite Shakespeare?

A: King John

Q: What is your favourite thing about working at the RSC?

A: Being made fun of for being the American. It’s the best.

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