Veteran Stratford Festival actor and Roncesvalles Village resident Robert Persichini was drawn to his latest project for its time period and “somewhat off-centre” characters.
Persichini co-stars in the black comedy, The Amorous Adventures of Anatol, presented by the Tarragon Theatre, premiering in Toronto Jan. 9.
Adapted and directed by Morris Panych, the play is a contemporary re-visioning of Austrian playwright-novelist Arthur Schnitzler’s Anatol (1893). The theatrical production, about a Viennese womanizer and his amorous trials and tribulations, continues until Feb. 10 at Tarragon Theatre’s Mainspace. Persichini plays the role of ‘Max’ the psychologist friend to the titular Anatol.
“Morris asked me to do this production,” said Persichini. “I was very happy to get the call as I’m a great admirer of his work. I was in his production of Amadeus at Canstage years ago and have wanted to work with him ever since.”
In turn-of-the-century Vienna, Anatol, the young, incurable romantic – and indecisive neurotic – pursues women as if each is “the one” for him, but without committing or caring. During the course of the play, Anatol woos a succession of seven different women all the while his psychologist friend Max attempts to counsel his hopeless friend. As the audience watches Anatol chase these women, it discovers what he does – and doesn’t – know about the fairer sex, meanwhile revealing all about himself.
“I love the period of the play; turn-of-the-century Vienna,” said Persichini, who has lived in Roncesvalles Village for more than 25 years. “All the characters are so alive and somewhat off-centre.”
The Timmins, Ontario native says it’s “always exciting” to delve into a different world. Performing, he said, provides him the chance to “discover the timeless ideas in great writing.”
Persichini grew up in a family with “artistic leanings.” His parents were both creative in many ways. Their son first got involved in theatre while in high school and discovered then that he would pursue it as a career. Persichini enrolled at Sheridan College’s theatre school and then attended The Drama Studio in London, England.
For a decade, he performed as part of the Stratford Festival.
“The draw at Stratford is the chance to get to work on really great material,” he said. “Its a long season so you have the chance to really spend time working on ideas.”
Despite being an actor for several years, Persichini remains challenged.
“As a living art, performances change over a period of time and it’s always fascinating to see that development,” he said. “There are too many things I still want to do to list them all.”
Tickets range from $27 to $53 (including discounts for students, seniors and groups). There will be a Pay-What-You-Can 2:30 p.m. matinee on Saturday, Feb. 2. Call 416-531-1827 or by visit www.tarragontheatre.com