Exclusive interview with Lili Fuller, producer and co-star of Shakespeare-themed US comedy Complete Works

Lili Fuller as Pauline in Complete Works.

Lili Fuller as Pauline in Complete Works.

SHAKESPEARE MAGAZINE: Hi Lili, as you’re probably aware, we’re unable to access the Hulu videos for Complete Works  here in the UK. Will our UK readers be able to see the show soon?
LILI FULLER: “The good news is that we just released the trailer and two 30-sec teasers (here and here) on YouTube.
“The bad news is that, for the time being, the show is only available on Hulu. That being said, we are considering putting the show on Netflix or iTunes in the near future. So not all hope is lost!”

You play the character Pauline, depicted as Lady Macbeth on the show’s poster. As executive producer, what appealed to you about this particular role? Does Pauline share any of your own personality traits?

“Yes, I do play Pauline. She’s a straight-shooting, very smart, sarcastic New Yorker who is highly competitive and very talented. And when you first meet her, she’s kind of, for lack of better words, a stone cold bitch, haha.

“You know, it’s interesting, when I started to work on playing Pauline, I thought she was very different from me. Her tone is dry and cold, which is the opposite of mine, so it was a struggle to land that tonality. Her strength and sassiness, though, are qualities I possess.

“Our make-up designer, Emily, told me one day on set when I was prepping for a scene: ‘Lili. Do you see the way you walk around set when you are producing? You know exactly what needs to be done and you are on a mission to do it. That’s Pauline. Be that side of you.’ I took that to heart and from thence forth, I really started to find the character. She was a blast to play. I miss her!”

In the dressing room (Lili Fuller and Joe Sofranco, far right).

In the dressing room (Lili Fuller and Joe Sofranco, far right).

Is the world of US collegiate theatre really as cutthroat  as you suggest in the show?
“No. Haha. Even when we write in the byline that it’s about ‘cutthroat’ Shakespeare competitions, we’re kind of poking fun at the idea itself. A Shakespeare competition, no matter how big, could never possibly be as cutthroat as many of the other competitions in our world. What’s more cutthroat than the competition itself, and what we’re kind of playing at, are the neuroses in young actors’ minds when they go to these competitions, the idea in their minds that THIS IS EVERYTHING.

“When you see the show you’ll learn that, much of the ‘cutthroat’ mentality is brewed from these individual insecurities, the pressure that young actors feel to be ‘the best’, and the hilarity that ensues when you put a pressure cooker on these insecurities. The truth is, US collegiate theatre is as friendly and non-cutthroat as the people who are in it. In our collegiate experience, we had a very collaborative, open, ensemble environment, and I imagine that’s how it is in most college theater programs in the US.”

So who is the most scheming and ambitious character in the show?
“That’s gotta be James, the proctor of the American Shakespeare Competition. I won’t ruin anything, but let’s just say that he has a past history with the competition himself.”

To see Pauline in full effect, check out Lili’s clips from Complete Works here.