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Cylla von Tiedemann Mike Shara in The Amorous Adventures of Anatol.
Almost five years after starring in The Amorous Adventures of Anatol, the show is getting its Toronto premiere at the Tarragon Theatre, running from Jan. 9 to Feb. 10, once again under the direction of the venerable Morris Panych, who adapted the 1893 comedy by Arthur Schnitzler for a successful 2008 Vancouver production.
“I didn’t have to audition, which is nice. It’s sort of a back-handed compliment, I guess, to be playing a guy who has a lot of women around him. There’s a comment in there somewhere,” said the tall, handsome actor.
“You often see guys who maybe get a lot of women but (Anatol) seems to get it wrong a lot and that’s the fun of the show, watching him get all of these opportunities with women but continue to get it wrong one way or another,” Shara said.
“His own insecurities, his own neediness and ego get in the way of him actually being able to have a proper relationship with any of the women. That’s always an interesting thing to play, a guy constantly getting in his own way,” he added.
“I’ve always appreciated his (Panych’s) genuine willingness to open up and say ‘okay, let’s try this.’ He thinks on his feet really well. Plus he’s hilariously funny and bitingly sarcastic. His humour really keeps things nice and loose and I love that too,” Shara said.
Shara also praised Panych’s adaptation of a 120-year-old play.
“It doesn’t feel like you’re doing Masterpiece Theatre. There is a problem in plays that are written 120 years ago and how they relate to women. They tend to be written from a man’s point of view. But Morris’s writing has helped balance that and eliminate some of the obvious, antiquated things. . . and update it with more contemporary ideas,” he added.