For one week, Nashville, Tenn. theater fans will have the opportunity to experience the drama, gallantry and chivalry of the golden age of Camelot in Lerner and Loewe’s innovative retelling of King Arthur’s legendary story.
“Camelot” is a refreshing look into the lives of King Arthur, his wife Guenevere, the trusted knight Sir Lancelot and Arthur’s illegitimate son Mordred.
The show begins with King Arthur marrying Guenevere and establishing the Knights of the Round Table and rules of chivalry for the knights so they do good instead of pillage and fight.
All is right in the world of Camelot until Mordred appears seeking revenge on King Arthur for abandoning him. Mordred begins a series of events that destroys the utopia of Camelot and forces it into war.
Kasidy Devlin, who portrays the conniving, vengeful Mordred, described the show and his part in it.
Devlin recently finished touring with Monty Python’s “Spamalot” as Sir Robin and has been seen in many Shakespeare productions and was featured last year in a production of “As You Like It” in Stratford-Upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare.
How would you describe your role in “Camelot” in your own words?
KD: In Dante’s Inferno, Mordred is in the lowest circle of hell, the circle reserved for traitors. He is pure villain, the anti-Lancelot. In our adaptation of the classic musical, we treated Mordred as such. He’s charming, charismatic, funny, dangerous and driven. He appears in Act 2, and sets the entire show in action.
How long have you been a part of this production?
KD: I was first involved when the production was only an idea. We had been touring “Spamalot” for three years and had just wrapped in Washington, D.C. At the closing night gala, director Michael McFadden and I talked about this concept of a “Camelot” for a modern audience. Mordred came up, and we talked how we didn’t buy the foppish way he had been played in the past. Images of Edmond from “King Lear” and “Richard III” came up. 15 months later we started rehearsals in NYC.
How do you feel about this role? What are your favorite moments?
KD: I’m delighted with how this version of Mordred has been received. Director Michael McFadden has given me very generous freedom to keep the role fresh and spontaneous every night. [Mordred]’s aware of the audience, aware of the play and is able to cheat at the game and still win. I really savor every moment he’s on stage, but my favorites are when he’s alone with the audience. I really listen to what type of audience we have that night, talk to them, hear how they respond, make eye contact.
I noticed that you have several Shakespearean acting credits – how does this role compare to your previous experiences?
KD: I would say that most of my experience is in Shakespeare. The story of King Arthur is really very Shakespearean. It’s grand in scale, but human in story. Epic meets chamber.
What are you most excited about when it comes to this production?
KD: How fresh this story is. There are two types of audience members I’ve met: those who love the original and those who find it dated. What director Michael McFadden has done is focused the musical on the story. The new orchestrations are just as lush but percussive and driven. It’s a perfect balancing act. The show is both epic and intimate. The pacing is breakneck, the passions are realistic and human, and the final 20 minutes are truly thrilling. All the knights have been trained with real steel broadswords, and we have some powerful fights. A perfect duet of modern retelling and respect for the original.
Packed with action, including genuine sword-fighting sequences, “Camelot” is both exciting and intriguing. “Camelot” will be performed every night between Nov. 4 and Nov. 9, with two shows both Saturday and Sunday.
Tickets are available through TPAC’s website, tpac.org. Belmont students will receive a student saver discount by using promo code “BELMONT” when checking out.
Photo credit: “Camelot” Touring Company