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Behind the Scenes with Cristiano Lourenço Jr. from THT Rep’s Macbeth

Reading of Macbeth at the BrickBox. UnityMike. Tokunbo Joshua Olumide (Macduff), Cristiano Lourenço, Jr. (First Witch), Yahya Jingo (Captain), Amie Lytle (Gentlewoman).

Ashleigh Prince spoke with Cristiano Lourenço Jr. from THT Rep’s Macbeth about Worc at Play, Shakespeare, Conservatory classes and more! Read on for highlights from the interview, or listen to the full interview below. Tune in to Talk of the Commonwealth with Hank Stolz on WCRN 830AM Fridays at 9 AM and Saturdays at 1 PM for more behind-the-scenes interviews.

Ashleigh: Good morning, everyone. Welcome back to Behind the Scenes at The Hanover Theatre. It’s finally fall and we are gearing up for a very, very exciting production at The Hanover Theatre; we are gearing up for Macbeth at the BrickBox! Today we are talking to Cristiano Lourenço Jr. to get the perspective of a cast member and as a treasured friend of The Hanover Theatre and Conservatory because you have been involved in so many things. 

Cristiano: Yes, yes. First of all, thank you so much for having me here. I’m so excited to have this conversation. And yes, I’ve been part of The Hanover Theatre for the past six years in different areas as a student of the Conservatory, as a goer to the theatre and now as an actor of the THT Rep, which is really exciting for me. 

Ashleigh: Yeah, and we were talking about how I was familiar with you because I manage our social media. I see you tagging us when you’re attending different Broadway shows. I think you’re a subscriber, right? 

Cristiano: I am a subscriber. I think I have been since the first time that I saw that you guys do this whole package with the Broadway shows. I’m like, “Oh, that’s the thing for me.” Also, being a student, you have big discounts. It was a perfect fit. 

Ashleigh: Yeah, absolutely. I had remembered you from Julius Caesar from last year, so I was really excited to set up this interview with you and get your perspective on THT as a whole. 

Cristiano: It’s interesting to see how The Hanover Theatre is going. I started here in 2017, in the first year of the Conservatory. I remember coming here to see Cinderella in 2016, the same year that I came from Brazil. I was like, “Oh, my God, this theatre is so beautiful. I wish they could have classes or something.”

I saw a pamphlet for Conservatory classes and I thought, ‘That’s for me. Yes please!’ I came to the open house to see the whole Conservatory and since then, I started ballet, tap, acting and voice lessons.

Cristiano Lourenço Jr.

Cristiano: It’s really interesting to see the Conservatory grow. Last year, I was invited to audition for Worc at Play. I met Liv and everyone, and then they invited me to be in Julius Caesar. It was so amazing to see this whole full circle kind of thing, right? You go to the classes, you learn stuff and now I’m in a professional production here. It’s really cool. 

Ashleigh: From the classes that you’ve mentioned, it seems like you maybe started with dance. Is that true? 

Cristiano: I started my career and working professionally when I was 17 back in Brazil. I did some musicals over there, some plays. Then, I moved with my family to the U.S. and I wanted to keep going with this. I never had actually time to study on it because I just auditioned when I was 17, I just went to high school productions. Then, I got a professional thing, but you know that the schedule is really a lot with the rehearsals and the shows, so you don’t really have time to stop and say, “Okay, I’m going to study, I’m going to get better at this.” So, when I came here, I was like, “Since I don’t have to be working in this field, I’m just going to keep studying it.” I just started doing dance classes, like ballet and tap, which I had a little experience with. It was really awesome just to start doing something in a different direction. I started taking acting classes with my acting teacher. He taught me how to act in a more secure way.

The cast of Macbeth sits at the BrickBox for the script reading. They sit with 4 white tables in a square, some turned around to look at something off screen.
The cast of Macbeth (2022). Photo by UnityMike.

Cristiano: Sometimes if there’s an emotion or something that you want to show off on stage, if you don’t have a map to go there, it’s difficult. Sometimes you think, “Am I going to be am I going to be able to do this today with my head in the right place. Am I going to be able?” But, when there’s a map, there’s a whole way of reaching that feeling or whatever you want to show on stage. I didn’t know how to control that, so he taught me so much. Before Liv and Worc at Play, I never worked with Shakespeare before. If you’re not from the theatre, you think that this so difficult. You’re like, “Oh my God, this is going to be so difficult with that language and how everything is made.” But Liv was like, “Guys, actually it’s not that difficult.” It is difficult and requires a lot of studying, for sure, but it’s not impossible. You can do it! I wasn’t believing in myself because English is my second language, so I have to be thinking a lot and translating things in my head. I was like, “Okay, if English normally is difficult for me, imagine old English? Am I going to be able to do it?” But, I can, which is great. 

Ashleigh: I’m really excited about the Worc at Play program as a whole, but when you dive into the stories of everyone that’s involved, it really is an incredible team. I’m super excited to see what you bring to MacbethI still need No Fear Shakespeare, the little books where it has the translation on the other side of what they’re really saying. 

Cristiano: It is really difficult, but also really interesting. It’s like a game, to be honest. Shakespeare was a genius. He left everything on his work, and you just have to keep finding clues in the way that he writes it. 

Ashleigh: It’s such a different experience between reading it No Fear Shakespeare and seeing it performed live. It’s a totally different experience, especially with Julius Caesar, where you’re reading through it and you’re like, “Okay, I get the gist.” But, when you’re actually seeing the action, and that raw emotion coming into play, it’s just incredible. 

Cristiano: Everyone from the Julius Caeser and Macbeth casts have been amazing. It was so good to see people from Julius Caesar at Macbeth, like Dale Place, Meri Stypinski and Yahya Jingo. It was so good to see those familiar faces again, and see what they bring to the table this time. 

Ashleigh: So, let’s dive a little bit into your role in Macbeth. We’re being a little dodgy on the name because it is bad luck to say in a theatre, but I make the excuse in my brain that we’re not technically in the theatre, we’re next to the theatre. That’s 

Cristiano: That’s a good point. That works. I’ve been doing the same because every time that I go to a friend and say, “Hey, I’m doing Macbeth,” they’re like, “Oh, a Scottish play.” Then, I gave myself that excuse that I’m the witch. I’m the dark forces part of the show, so I get a pass. 

Ashleigh: So, let’s talk about the role itself, what you’ve done with it and what you’ve been doing with it as you get ready for opening? 

Cristiano: It’s interesting because I’m the first witch, but I’m also Hecate. In some productions of Macbeth, there are the three witches plus the Hecate which is the goddess. She’s the one who gives them their powers and she has this whole monologue. In this production, I am a mix of first witch and Hecate which is great because I have to be having fun being the first witch but I also have the monologue of the Hecate. My character is the leader of the three witches. I’m the first witch, second witch is Anna MacInnis and Karen Richards, the third witch. We are really bonding during this time because this character is so fun. We have all these visions, and we are playing with them to see what they’re going to do with it. 

Anna MacInnis (Second Witch, u/s Lady Macbeth), Robert St. Laurence* (Malcolm, u/s Murderer) and Tokunbo Joshua Olumide (Macduff) read at the table reading of Macbeth at the BrickBox theater.
Anna MacInnis (Second Witch), Robert St. Laurence* (Malcolm) and Tokunbo Joshua Olumide (Macduff).
Photo by UnityMike

Ashleigh: A little bit like muses. 

Cristiano: Like, “Let’s see what he’s going to do with this information. Maybe he made the right choices and something great came out of it.  

Ashleigh: And you kick the show off! 

Cristiano: Yes, I do kick the show off. Just as a paranthesis here, the costumes are so cool and so amazing. Please come to see our show, because you guys are going to be like, “What?” 

Ashleigh: Yeah, it has the post-apocalyptic vibe. I’ve been trying to tell people and convey what’s going to be happening, but it’s so hard if you can’t see it yet. 

Cristiano: Right! I just had my first fitting on Saturday and it’s so beautiful. A lot of people are using beautiful boots with our clothes, the hair and the makeup. Everything’s going to be amazing. I use some big claws for my character, and Karen is using long nails and paws. So, we are really feisty and like to show this off. My character is really bossy. I love my sisters to death, but I also I am their leader. “Pay attention to the things that I’m saying. I love you, but let’s play with those rich people that we actually don’t care about.” We pretend that we do. We are the connection between the humans more than the magical worlds. 

Ashleigh: Just some light meddling! So, Macbeth is coming to the BrickBox Theater. It is the BrickBox Theater, it won’t be on our main stage. It’s a little down the street at the Jean McDonough Art Center. So, if you’ve got your tickets and you’re looking around and you run into Tootsie, you’re in the wrong place. Macbeth will be at the BrickBox, September 29 – October 15. The show officially opens on October 2, and the performances before October 2 will be previews. This is a really excellent opportunity to see an incredible piece of theatre made by Worcester for Worcester. One of the things that I think is really great about the THT Rep productions is the tiered ticket pricing. Tickets range from $8-$110, depending on what you’re able to pay. 

Cristiano: That’s amazing to bring people from different backgrounds. Sometimes you’re not able to pay $110 or $50, but there’s the $8 and $35 ticket. That’s been awesome because I’ve been calling some friends who were probably not able to pay that much. They are really happy that there’s so many options so they can see the show. I love that so much. 

Ashleigh: Yeah, it makes theatre more accessible and who doesn’t love that? 

Putting people together from different backgrounds should not be only something that people with money have access to. Theatre and art should be something that everyone has access to and have the chance to be enchanted with this world that that is so amazing. 

Cristiano Lourenço Jr.

Ashleigh: I feel the same way about the Conservatory too, because we have our financial aid and scholarships now. I think that it provides access to a lot of people that wouldn’t otherwise. So, I think that is incredible, and thank you to all the people that make this possible and make what we do possible. It is really life-changing when it all comes down to it. 

Cristiano: I totally agree with you. It’s life-changing for so many people and the teachers here are amazing. Shoutout to Mark Mummert, and Ana Luisa Thompson-Konopka who is also Brazilian so we bond over that. 
 

Ashleigh: Yeah, and a member of the Macbeth cast also teaches classes, Meredith. 

Cristiano: Yes, she is an amazing teacher and an amazing actress. She was Cassia in Julius Caesar and now Lady Macbeth in Macbeth. 

Ashleigh: Well, we are all super excited. I’m super excited for Macbeth to finally, finally open. 

Three cast members, Cristiano Lourenço Jr. (First Witch), Yahya Jingo (Captain) and Cameron Patrick Ward (Seyton, u/s Malcolm, Gentlewoman) of Macbeth reading their scripts at the Brickbox.
Cristiano Lourenço Jr. (First Witch), Yahya Jingo (Captain) and Cameron Patrick Ward (Seyton, u/s Malcolm, Gentlewoman). Photo by UnityMike.

Cristiano: It’s an amazing production with people from Worcester. Liv and a lot of the cast is from Worcester, and Massachusetts in general, as well. You do not want to miss this opportunity. 

Ashleigh: How can people find you? 

Cristiano: My Instagram normally is the place that I put a lot of my stuff, my work and my art, @CristianoJr. I’m on Facebook, too! 

Ashleigh: We’ll be sure to connect with you soon!