Much Ado About Emily Marie Palmer

Emily Palmer. Photo by Jeff Frazier.

A member of our 2012 Apprentice Company, this is Emily Marie Palmer’s first summer with us at Shakespeare in the Park. She’s performed all over Middle Tennessee, including in the world premiere of the stage musical My Catskills Summer and this summer she’s joining us as the lovely Hero in Much Ado. While she may want to be a silent film star ala Buster Keaton, we’re thrilled she decided to lend her “talkie” talents to us for the summer.

Interview conducted by Marketing and Development Intern Blythe Cate.

Emily’s Role in Much Ado: Hero

What is your favorite Shakespeare play?  
Much Ado About Nothing. 🙂

What is your most marked characteristic?
I’m rather old-fashioned.

What talent would you most like to have?
Painting! I can paint, but it’s a very tedious, painstaking process when I do. I wish I could paint from the heart!

What would surprise me to know about you?
I have a steadily growing fascination with New Orleans. I know it’s swampy, and a little bit dreadful, but that just lends to the romance of it. One day I will live there and pen my novel.

Where do you find inspiration?
For the role of Hero, two of my biggest inspirations were Joan Fontaine’s 1943 version of Jane Eyre, and Mary from It’s A Wonderful Life. They are both rather quiet, but not at all insipid. They are loving, forgiving, and terribly generous. Not to mention, they both have foiled weddings–or in Mary’s case, a foiled honeymoon–just like Hero! But, again like Hero, they get their happy endings!

Steven Fiske as Claudio with Hero (Emily Palmer), Benedick (Patrick Waller) and Beatrice (Evelyn O’Neal Brush) — Photo by Jeff Frazier

In the program you mention that you have always dreamed of playing Hero. Why is that?
It all began when I read Charles and Mary Lamb’s children’s version of Much Ado About Nothing when I was about eight. I liked the character of Hero, and I wanted to play her to do her justice. I think she’s a character that can be easily dismissed or sold-short. She’s quiet, but I think she has a lot of heart.

Who would you like to engage in conversation (living or dead)?
Joan of Arc and Buster Keaton.

Which Shakespeare character would you most like to play?
I’d love to play Lady Anne from Richard the Third.

What is your favorite thing to do in Nashville?
Antiquing… and going to Shakespeare in the Park, of course.

What is your favorite line in Much Ado About Nothing?
“‘Against my will I am sent to bid you come in to dinner.’ … There’s a double meaning in that.”

How were you introduced to Shakespeare in the Park?
A friend brought me to see The Complete Works of Shakespeare Abridged in 2009, and I fell in love with the idea of watching Shakespeare under the stars!

What is your favorite picnic food?
Nothing beats homemade bread with strawberry jam!

Much Ado About Nothing runs through September 16th at Centennial Park. See it before it’s gone!

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