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Myhrcutio!

Joining a distinguished cast of Thespians at The Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford Upon Avon, who better than Myhr to replace the indisposed Jacob Wells as Myhrcutio in what proved to be a triumphant production of Romeo and Juliet. Myrh told this reporter that he put so much of himself into the part that he was unwilling to appear in more than seven performances, having only eight lives left. (He lost one a long time ago when.... naah!... least said about that the better!)

The part was, I am given to understand, written expressly for him during one of his forays through time. "Willy wanted to give me a real challenge. Of course, staging was nothing then compared to nowadays. We had to carry all the props, costumes and scenery from town to town in a handcart which also doubled as the stage!" There is no doubt that Myhr is absolutely right for the role. Coleridge described the attributes of the character, latterly often mis-spelled as 'Mercutio', thus:
"Wit ever wakeful, fancy busy and procreative as an insect, courage, an easy mind that, without cares of its own, is at once disposed to laugh away those of others, and yet to be interested in them - these and all congenial qualities, melting into the common 'copula' of them all, the man of rank and the gentleman, with all its excellencies and all its weaknesses, constitute the character of Mercutio!" (Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

Coleridge wrote these lines after seeing Myhr in an earlier production in the late 18th Century (after Kubla Khan but before The Ancient Mariner). "I have considerably improved on that performance" Myhr related modestly, "Sammy would have been proud!"

For those readers who are unfamiliar with the play, Myhrcutio is Kinsman to the Prince and friend to Romeo. He is invited to Capulet's feast and urges Romeo (played by Julian Bashir) to join the maskers. He jests with Benvolio (Pascal) on Romeo's passion and characterizes Tybalt (Worf) as a punctilious duellist. He is mortally wounded by Tybalt, having taken up his challenge when Romeo refuses to fight him, knowing him to be a relative of his espoused Juliet (Jadzhir Dax). Romeo slays Tybalt in anger and is banished by the Prince. Juliet's problems don't end there for her father wishes her to marry the noble Count Paris (Elliot Burch), not knowing her to be married already... ...BUT I digress... back to Myhrcutio!

His first entrance, before the feast at the Capulet's, was greeted with a gasp of admiration by the ladies and gentlemen alike. To the traditional costume of doublet and hose, in this scene was added a short cloak, the hem of which fell just below the jewel-encrusted handle of his sword. He was magnificent!... ... Where was I?... Oh yes, his first entrance. The famous line 'I talk of dreams...' was met with an audible sigh from the ladies who, quite frankly, should have known better! NOT that I blame them, after all Romeo, though quite charming, was a teensy bit on the young side. When the revellers left the stage there was spontaneous applause, such as has not been seen in this theatre since Olivier himself played Hamlet.

After the feast, when Myhrcutio is seeking out Romeo the ladies in the audience were now as Pavlov's dogs; drooling at each sound of his sumptuous voice. The fight sequence was so realistic that gasps of amazement could be heard from every part of the auditorium and when the fatal blow struck and Myhr slumped to the floor, there was genuine concern that he truly was mortally wounded. His final speech was delivered in a half-voice which was itself between life and death... 'not so deep as a well, nor so wide as a church door; but 'tis enough, 'twill serve'. The desperate curse 'A plague on BOTH your houses!' as he was helped from the stage began a stunned silence in cast and audience alike which seemed to last forever. Backstage, whilst signing autographs for his many fans, Myhr said that the cast had not witnessed any of the rehearsals of that scene. "The director and I decided that their reactions would be more credible if they were spontaneous." It was truly a masterstroke!

"Thespians All" - Review April 1996


If any Myhr's Lair member has spotted
Myhr in any other production please let
me have a report to be displayed on this page...



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