Play’s the thing to inspire actor’s life

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Staged for homecoming: Actor Jacob Warner to
co-star in The Merchant of Venice in Frankston.

SHAKESPEARE shaken and stirred is heading to the Frankston Arts Centre and it is a homecoming of sorts for cast member Jacob Warner who was born in Frankston.

His parents’ family still live around Frankston and the Mornington Peninsula despite the actor leaving town at the age of three.

The young actor, fresh off his feature film debut in the Mel Gibson directed Hacksaw Ridge, is playing the clown Launcelot Gobbo in a Bell Shakespeare company production of The Merchant of Venice featuring money lender Shylock demanding an infamous “pound of flesh” in return for a late debt.

Bell Shakespeare tours nationally with “as a vehicle for self-scrutiny and recognition [for Australians]: to make work that is of us, for us and about us”.

Warner first thought about acting as a career when he himself saw a Bell Shakespeare production in Shepparton in his teens at a time when he was dabbling in amateur dramatics at high school.

“It was the first professional production I saw and I loved it,” Warner says.

“I thought ‘wow, you get to do that for a living, that looks like fun’.”

The actor says Australian acting legend Mel Gibson was “wonderful” working with the young cast of World War II drama Hacksaw Ridge.

“He really understands the actor’s process. He was willing to teach the young blokes about filmmaking, really,” Warner said.

“We had very little time but he took the time to teach us about lenses and how to move on camera and it’s invaluable.”

It was also “an amazing experience” working alongside actors including Andrew Garfield and Vince Vaughan, Warner said, although Garfield, the star of  two The Amazing Spider-Man movies, “hates being called Spider-Man”.

“Don’t call him Spider-Man, that’s the first tip,” Warner joked.

Warner is looking forward to bringing the Bard to the boards of stage at the Frankston Arts Centre on 19 August in The Merchant of Venice directed by Anne-Louise Sarks.

“I think a young female director is the best way to approach Shakespeare in 2017 because for a long time female actors weren’t even allowed to be involved in a production,” he said.

“As long as live in a world where there’s discrimination towards people for race, gender, sexuality and religion I think The Merchant of Venice is going to be a relevant play.

“Unfortunately, I think in the 400 years or so since he wrote not a lot has changed in regards to that and it’s quite shocking.”

  • The Merchant of Venice will be performed at FAC Theatre on Saturday 19 August, 7.30pm with live captioning. 165 minutes, including interval. See thefac.com.au or call 9784 1060 for tickets.

First published in the Frankston Times – 26 June 2017

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