Musical Director Andrew Kroenert also appears on stage in costume as a musician in Shakespeare in Love. He tells us about the musical world of the play, and the unique challenges of a production of this scale.
How would you describe the musical world of this play? What styles/instruments/motifs?
The music in the play, being set in 1593, has a definite Classical era feel but with heavy folk overtones. It feels like the type of music that young actors at that time would have been surrounded with – the sound of hurdy-gurdys, lutes, whistles, bodhrán drums and fiddles.
How does music help tell the story in Shakespeare in Love? Is there a particular moment that demonstrates this?
The music, whether the underscore or the singing, helps to underpin the action of the show. Whether it is the slightly stuffy music that is played during a dance the De Lesseps’s mansion or the rollicking jig played in the Tavern, it serves as a marker to set up the world we are entering in any given scene and add to the tension/romance of the dialogue.
What is it like to be in the dual role of Musical Director and a musician within the world of the play?
It is an interesting – but thoroughly enjoyable – position to be in. In one session, I am running music calls, teaching music and giving out notes and corrections, then the next session I am acting in a scene. The whole cast are working their butts off playing numerous roles throughout the play, so I am enjoying joining them in several different roles.
Andrew Kroenert (far right) with John Leary, Francis Greenslade and Chris Ryan. Photo by Jeff Busby.
What are some of the challenges you’ve enjoyed solving as Musical Director?
The whole show is performed with beautifully recorded tracks. We are sent each instrument’s recording in an individual ‘stem’, which allows us to pull out that instrument for any piece of music and have it played live onstage. It has been really interesting to see how much of the music we can play live onstage and how it will blend with the pre-recorded instruments. There are times where I will play along with the track and times where I have been able to re-orchestrate a song so it is played completely live on stage.
How do you collaborate with the other members of the creative team during rehearsal?
Simon Phillips (our Director) is a sensation. He really empowers the people in the room – cast, stage management, choreographer, to do their job and do it well. Collaboration is always approached through mutual respect and with the intention to solve a problem.
Shakespeare in Love plays at Arts Centre Melbourne until 17 August. Book now.
Published on 1 August 2019