Jeremy Kemmerer, originally hailing from Buffalo, New York, is now a local high school English teacher and one of Ghostlight’s longest-standing veterans, having either acted in or directed every play since the company’s inception. With our final weekend of shows officially underway, this father of three takes some time with us to describe Mark Antony’s mixed motives, and how he moves the plot.
How are you associated with Ghostlight? How did you get involved and what other shows have you been in?
I've had the privilege of being a part of Ghostlight Productions almost since it began. Jonathan and Rachel Strayer and I all did college theatre together and our friendship grew out of a shared love for this artistic medium. When they first talked of their dream of starting their own theatre company, I was excited and hopeful that I might be a part of it in any what I could. I have been a part of every production Ghostlight has done, and that's a claim of which I'm quite proud. I played Malvolio in Twelfth Night, Christopher Wren in Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap, Lysander in A Midsummer Night's Dream, various roles in A Midnight Dreary, Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing, Friar Laurence in Romeo & Juliet, Macbeth in Macbeth, and now Mark Antony in this production of Julius Caesar. I enjoyed directing Ghostlight's productions of The Merry Wives of Windsor and The Comedy of Errors, as well as part of A Midnight Dreary. My wife, Jill, and I will be directing Ghostlight's upcoming (3rd annual) Underage Theatre production this July. I am most proud of Ghostlight’s continual quest to produce excellent theatre.
What other theater have you been and are you involved in?
From 2004 on, I have worked alongside Dr. Brian Maxwell and the theatre department of Summit University as the Musical Director for their mainstage musicals, which have taken place about every other year. In 2013, my wife created and we began to run an awards program called the Excellence in School Theater Arts Awards. This program celebrates the work of local high school theatre programs right here in Lackawanna County, PA. I’ve also been happy to be a part of several other community theatre productions, including the East Coast Premier of Rachel Strayer’s play Drowning Ophelia (produced by Gaslight Theatre Company…not to be confused with Ghostlight).
What has been a favorite part of this production so far?
For as long as Jonathan and I have been working together, we have only once before played characters who interact on stage. It’s been fun to do so again in these roles. I also love how much of a family our Ghostlight Productions casts become, and I love working with both old and new friends.
Who is your character and what is he like?
I am playing the role of Mark Antony, and I’m confused as to why I may be one of the only cast members who loves this character!
Antony is the most loyal of all the characters in Julius Caesar, in that he sees the chaos he is causing as a quest for necessary and inevitable justice. Nothing will stop him from avenging Caesar’s murder. Antony is quite the aloof character, and this detachment keeps him from becoming emotionally tied down and unable to do what he deems crucial.
How does your character feel about Caesar? Do you want her dead? Why did you kill her?
Antony is a loyal protégé and follower of Caesar. Not only does he NOT want her dead, but he spends the rest of the play rectifying this injustice.
What is your character’s motivation in the ensuing civil war? What is their goal or desire for the government?
Antony’s main motivation is, of course, avenging Caesar. His first priority is to find and destroy the conspirators. He chooses a new loyalty, ostensibly loyalty to Octavious, Caesar’s heir. He sees this shift analytically, as the shift in his loyalties that will get him closer to real power. However, there is an element of ambition in him as well, and he recognizes it as a weakness—without seeking to give it up. Underneath the exterior, he actually admires the complete absence of ambition in Brutus, but not enough to give up on his quest for justice. He can admire it in others, but he doesn’t believe that type of honorable behavior gets the job done.