Dynamic Duo

Hamlet's Chukwudi Iwuji and Kristolyn Lloyd Talk His 'Herculean' Hamlet & Her 'Feisty' Ophelia

September 19th, 2016 by

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Hamlet's Chukwudi Iwuji and Kristolyn Lloyd Talk His 'Her...

After performing free Shakespeare in prisons, homeless shelters, and community centers throughout New York’s five boroughs, The Public’s Mobile Unit production of Hamlet enjoys a sit down run downtown at The Public's Shiva Theater through October 9. At the center of this bold, new production are Olivier winner Chukwudi Iwuji (Henry VI Trilogy, King Lear) as the titular prince and Kristolyn Lloyd (Dear Evan Hansen, Heathers, Invisible Thread) as Ophelia. BroadwayBox caught up with the dynamic duo to hear from each about the touring experience, the production's unique prologue, and reuniting for Much Ado.


My first impression of my co-star:

Kristolyn:
Ah, Yay! He's British!

Chukwudi:
"So we are going for a 'feisty Ophelia'…Awesome!"


My favorite moment we share onstage together:

Kristolyn:
The prologue. We rarely get to see Hamlet and Ophelia in their own world and Patricia [McGregor] created a beautiful prologue, giving Hamlet and Ophelia a nice beginning. 

Chukwudi:
I like to make her work extra hard in her singing at the top of the play. The note from the director was "don't look at her till something in her singing is so powerful you have to look up." I don't make it easy. But she has the pipes to win me over...usually. 


Our most memorable Mobile Unit tour performance had to have been:

Kristolyn:
The Maximum Security women's prison in Bedford! They LOVED the show and LOVED Chuk. They were really rooting for the Hamlet and Ophelia. The kiss always gets a good amount of excitement from the ladies.

Chukwudi:
Impossible to say. Each stop had unveiled something precious and unique, and journal-worthy.


Hashtag I would use to describe my co-star’s performance:

Kristolyn:
#Herculean

Chukwudi:
I'm not sure I know how to use a hashtag…


Another Shakespeare duo I’d like to do together:

Kristolyn:
Beatrice and Benedick Much Ado About Nothing.

Chukwudi:
Has to be Beatrice and Benedick. I expect we would both need little directing with the first half of the play, at least.


Off-stage, we bond over:

Kristolyn:
Who's gonna win the argument and my spot on Eliza Doolittle impression. Ask him about it! He loves it!

Chukwudi:
  Our mutual sweet-tooths.


I’m in awe of my co-star’s ability to:

Kristolyn:
His stamina! His performance is so specific and full of life. He's working harder than anyone on that stage. Being on tour is exhausting and we all need a gurney after from being so tired. Chuk goes to the gym when we get back! 

Chukwudi:
Finally not feel sorry for the actor playing Ophelia. It is a notoriously difficult and shamefully glossed-over role. It's great to witness, and be part of a production where the director and actor give us an Ophelia that is a moving cocktail of the beatific and the tragic.


Song I’d use to describe my co-star’s personality:

Kristolyn:
"Bad" by Michael Jackson.

Chukwudi:
"Pale Blue Eyes" by Velvet Underground. And I know her eyes aren't blue. The song just fits...

See Chukwudi Iwuji and Kristolyn Lloyd in 'Hamlet' at The Public Theater through October 9.