Having spent the winter in the forest of Arden, Folger Theatre heads into spring by traveling to Greece for Timon of Athens. Meet the talented cast who will bring this fascinating play about generosity and societal bonds to life.
Timon of Athens
Ian Merrill Peakes is no stranger to the Folger stage, having played some of Shakespeare’s most iconic roles here, including Orsino, Iago, and Macbeth. This is Peakes’ 11th appearance with Folger Theatre, and he won a Helen Hayes Award for his last role with us—as the Player in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Now, he returns to take on another monumental role in the Shakespearean canon. Timon is a generous man, happy and eager to share his vast wealth with his friends. But when he finds himself in need of support, will they reciprocate his generosity?
Athens is full of people who have benefited from Timon’s goodwill. For example, Ventidius, played by Folger favorite Louis Butelli, is freed from debtor’s prison due to a timely loan from Timon. Butelli returns to the Folger after having spent the last year touring America with Gravedigger’s Tale, part of the First Folio! exhibition, and you can catch up with tales of his travels here on The Folger Spotlight. Andhy Mendez makes his Folger debut as Lucullus, an Athenian lord we first meet at one of Timon’s lavish banquets. Rounding the trio out is Sean Fri as Sempronius, a third man whose friendship Timon hopes to rely on in his own times of need. Fri was last seen at the Folger in Richard III as both the complicit Hastings and the murderous Tyrell. With that track record, Timon best be on his guard….
Alongside those that receive Timon’s generosity are those who caution against its potential pitfalls. Antoinette Robinson continues her time at the Folger, having just finished charming audiences as Celia in As You Like It, as Flavius, Timon’s loyal servant who tries to curb his beneficence before it bankrupts him. Folger audiences last saw Maboud Ebrahimzadeh in 2014’s Julius Caesar, where he appeared as Casca/Messala, but Ebrahimzadeh is a popular member of the DC theatre community, working with such organizations as Theatre J, Roundhouse, and Forum Theatre. In Timon of Athens, he plays Alcibiades, an Athenian captain whose troubles with the Senate eventually align him with Timon. The last of our observers is the most skeptical of all: the philosopher Apemantus, played by Eric Hissom, whose many Folger credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, and Arcadia (for which he won a Helen Hayes Award). With these three, it would do Timon well to remember that true friends don’t always tell you what you want to hear!
Governing the city, we have the Athenian Senate, played by Kathryn Tkel, Michael Dix Thomas, and John Floyd, who also play a number of other vital roles in exploring the relationships within Timon of Athens. Folger audiences will recognize Tkel from Sense and Sensibility, in which she doubled as the calculating Fanny Dashwood and the fortune-hunting Lucy Steele. Thomas and Floyd are both making their Folger debuts, the former with a number of Shakespeare credits under his belt at Shakespeare Theatre Company and Theater at Monmouth while the latter joins us from such theaters as Williamstown Theatre Festival, Trustus Theatre, and Theatre SC.
And completing our talented cast, we have Amanda Forstrom and Aliyah Caldwell, playing dancers Timandra and Phrynia. Forstrom understudied in both Sense and Sensibility and Twelfth Night and assistant directed 2014’s Julius Caesar, in addition to her work with Taffety Punk Theatre Company, Rorschach Theatre, and Irondale Theatre, among others. Partnering with her is Caldwell, who is making her Folger debut. Caldwell, like Forstrom, has a dance background, and the two perform as part of Timon’s banquet entertainment before finding him in the forest after his self-banishment. Unfortunately, something tells us it won’t be a selfless social call…
We can’t wait to see how it all plays out!
Come see Folger Theatre’s Timon of Athens, on stage
May 9 – June 11. For tickets and more information, visit us online or call the Folger Box Office at 202.544.7077.