Antony and Cleopatra actor, Sam Levi

Greetings one and all!  We are excited to bring you another  Cleo Chat from Portland Actors Ensemble!  Today we feature our recent interview with an actor in our 2014 Shakespeare in the Parks production of Antony and Cleopatra, Sam Levi.   Antony and Cleopatra opens this Thursday, July 12th, at 7 p.m. in Laurelhurst Park.  In this interview, Sam gives us an inside look into his rehearsal process for the role of Octavian Caesar  (interestingly, this is a role that is split with actor Josh Rice, meaning both will play Caesar in alternating performances), and more.


(Athena McElrath–AM)  What was your favorite experience working on this show, Sam?


(Sam Levi–SL)  Being double cast, for sure. That’s a first. It’s a joy to just sit back and watch how a great actor like Josh [Rice] attacks a scene in his own way. So there I am with this unique vantage point where I can pick up on moments I otherwise never would have found. Then after Josh takes a crack at it, it’s my turn, or vice-versa. It gives the rehearsal a different rhythm. To share my process with Josh in such detail and in turn have the privilege to get in on what makes him tick is so cool. We have different blanks as actors and we’re helping each other fill them in. It’s going to make both of our performances more filled out, I think.



(AM)  What was your favorite moment in Antony and Cleopatra, and why?


(SL)  It’s tough to pick just one. It literally changes every day as the ensemble continues to find new moments with each rehearsal. As of right now though, it’s got to be the prologue our director has crafted. I don’t want to reveal too much about it, but I will say that the gorgeous live music combined with the grandeur of the set and the opulence of the costumes will make you totally forget you’re sitting in a park in Portland.



(AM)  How did you prepare for your role?


(SL)  I love it when a role comes along that allows me to play someone real from history. They come with extra responsibility to be as truthful as possible, I feel. A ‘respect for the dead’ kind of thing, I guess. I wound up reading a lot about Octavius (later Augustus) Caesar’s life, which gave me a pretty good sense of the type of determined and highly intelligent young man he was.  He did more by the time he was 25 than the vast majority of people do in their lifetimes. I hope to get his political genius across!


Thanks, Sam!


More Antony and Cleopatra Cleo Chat interviews coming up soon!


You can find our show schedule for Portland Actors Ensemble’s Antony and Cleopatra here–please join us and see this free production that runs June 19th through July 26th.


Have any questions about Antony and Cleopatra?  We’d love to hear about it down in the comments, so feel free to stop by and say hi!


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Till next time,

Take pains; be perfect; adieu!

DCFC0486.JPGAthena McElrath is an actor and singer who is also an Administrative Board member with Portland Actor’s Ensemble.  She helps PAE with social media and educational outreach.  She often works onstage with her husband, K.J. McElrath, in their cabaret act, called McElrath Cabaret, which features songs from classic Broadway, Hollywood and Tin Pan Alley.  For more: