Will Keen Discusses Embodying Vladimir Putin in Broadway Play 'Patriots'

Acclaimed actor Will Keen to bring his portrayal of Vladimir Putin in the play 'Patriots' to Broadway in 2024, offering a timely and thought-provoking examination of power and ambition.

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Olalekan Adigun
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Will Keen Discusses Embodying Vladimir Putin in Broadway Play 'Patriots'

Will Keen Discusses Embodying Vladimir Putin in Broadway Play 'Patriots'

Will Keen, the Olivier Award-winning actor known for his portrayal of Vladimir Putin in the play 'Patriots,' is set to bring his acclaimed performance to Broadway in 2024. In a recent interview, Keen examined the physical and psychological approach he employs to embody the Russian leader on stage.

Keen's thorough study of Putin's mannerisms and demeanor has been vital to his convincing portrayal. He noted that Putin's right hand often remains immobile, a trait Keen believes stems from the former KGB agent's training to keep a hand near a weapon. "It's a very particular thing that I observed in Putin," Keen explained, adding that he has watched numerous videos of the Russian leader to perfect his performance.

The play 'Patriots,' directed by Rupert Goold, explores the complex relationship between Putin and Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky. Berezovsky, who initially believed he could control Putin's political rise, ultimately found himself mistaken as Putin consolidated his power and influence. Keen's portrayal of Putin's transformation from a deputy mayor with a "boxy and ill-fitting" suit to a "sleek and implacable" leader has been praised for its nuance and depth.

To capture Putin's essence, Keen has studied not only his physical traits but also his psychological development. He cites the BBC documentary 'Russia 1985-1999' as a valuable resource in understanding Putin's experiences in Dresden during the fall of the Berlin Wall. Keen believes this period contributed to Putin's "still and hard" demeanor and his growing sense of ruthlessness.

Why this matters: As global tensions continue to rise, particularly in light of Russia's actions on the world stage, 'Patriots' offers a timely and thought-provoking examination of power, ambition, and the complexities of international politics. The play's Broadway debut promises to shed light on the enigmatic figure of Vladimir Putin and the forces that have shaped his leadership.

Keen's dedication to his role has not gone unnoticed by audiences. During the play's run at the Almeida Theatre in London, his portrayal of Putin was so convincing that he faced boos from some audience members during curtain calls. As 'Patriots' prepares for its Broadway opening, theatergoers can anticipate a captivating and insightful look into the rise of one of the world's most controversial leaders, brought to life by Will Keen's remarkable performance.

Key Takeaways

  • Actor Will Keen to bring acclaimed portrayal of Putin to Broadway in 2024.
  • Keen studied Putin's mannerisms, demeanor, and psychological development to embody him.
  • Play 'Patriots' explores complex relationship between Putin and Russian oligarch Berezovsky.
  • Keen's performance praised for nuance and depth, even facing boos from audiences.
  • Play offers timely examination of power, ambition, and international politics.