We are pleased to present you with another actor spotlight, this time on long-time company member Geoff Knox. Right now, he is getting ready to play Jaques in As You Like It and Leontes in The Winter's Tale. He's been with Ohio Shakes since he was 19 years old, when he played Ferdinand in our very first Tempest. Geoff is a key figure in our active company, and it's hard to imagine a summer without him.
Tell Us a Little about yourself.
Shakespeare is a passion of mine. Even when I'm not acting in his plays, I've found his work to be a constant companion through my life, both in good times and bad. I don't think one could find a situation or feeling that Shakespeare has not illuminated so well in one of his plays. Language is truly a gift of humankind, and the language of Shakespeare is the pinnacle of the power of the English language. Music might be the language of the soul, but Shakespeare combines musical language with complex thoughts and emotions, creating a perfect symbiosis between passion and reason. Working at OSF is even better than just getting to perform the plays, because OSF's mission is to do the plays in a way that is closest to the intent of Shakespeare himself. OSF trusts Shakespere. Our costumes are simple and appropriate to the period. The action is brisk, the words spoke "trippingly on the tongue." We don't try to impose our will on the plays, but rather let the plays speak for themselves. And speak they do! People who attend our performances are often so surprised at how understandable the words are, at how enjoyable they are to watch, and how the time passes by so quickly. They don't seem like museum pieces, but rather like they could have been written today.
How long have you been with Ohio Shakes?
This will be my eighth season since 2003.
What Advice do you have for other jealous husbands who are losing it?
I think people need to trust the people they're in a relationship with. I daresay there are many more relationships ruined by people who are jealous for no reason then there are relationships ruined by actual unfaithful partners. I think Shakespeare knew that and that's why he wrote about it so much!
We heard you're extra excited to play Jaques and leontes. What is so exciting about those parts?
Leontes is a role I've always been dying to play. Being a later play of Shakespeare, the language of Leontes is extremely dense and it's combined with an absolute roller coaster of an emotional journey. Also, being a romance play, Leontes is one of the few characters that is tragic, and yet gets redemption at the play's close. The ending of The Winter's Tale is my favorite of any play.
Jaques is just such a wonderfully ironic character. I mean he's depressed to the point where he wants to withdraw himself from the world, and yet he finds a court jester to be the one person that he wants to emulate and learn from. That is so quintessentially Shakespeare.
What is the best thing you'll get to say?
"If this be magic, let it be an art lawful as eating."
okay--What is The worst thing you'll have to say?
"Affection, thy intention stabs the center."--the meaning of this passage baffles scholars and I'm still wrestling with it. But that's part of the fun of doing Shakespeare!
Favorite past ohio shakes role?
Twelfth Night, and not just cause I got to play one of my favorite roles--Malvolio--but we had just such an extraordinary cast for one of Shakespeare's best comedies. I'd do it again in a heart beat.
Role you're dying to do?
Oh there are so many, but Hamlet and Richard II are way up there.