Translating ‘Great Expectations’ from page to stage

Benjamin Bonenfant

Benjamin Bonenfant plays Pip in Charles Dickens’ “Great Expectations,” now playing at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Bonenfant came from the Colorado Shakespeare Festival where he played such roles as Henry V in “Henry V,” Prince Hal in “Henry IV” Parts 1 and 2, and Ferdinand in “The Tempest.” We visited over iced coffee at Mix. (This is the first part of a two-part column. The second will be published Aug. 22.)

EH: How do you approach a role?

BB: It’s different for every role, for instance, doing a Shakespeare versus doing an adaptation of a novel. A Shakespeare play has all the necessary information in the lines. The time, place, what’s happening in the world, the way people feel, and the qualities of the characters, all of that information, you get by studying the text of the play. You look for every reference to your character from all of the other characters. Shakespeare gives it all to you, so you get the fullest picture. It’s all in the words. Continue reading Translating ‘Great Expectations’ from page to stage