Matt Amendt: Young actor in royal role

Show: Henry V
Posted on Jan 14, 2009 at 11:12 a.m. by LeeH

Star Tribune
January 10, 2009

Some adolescent boys spend much of their imaginative energy on computer games, dodging and shooting at nasty characters. Starting as a preteen, Matthew Amendt fortified himself with Shakespeare.

The son of a drama teacher and an arts administrator, Amendt grew up in a small coal-mining town outside Pittsburgh. "When I was a baby, my mother would put me onstage as a prop," he said.

At 12, Amendt read "Henry V" in one of his mother's dusty collections of the Bard's complete works. He was smitten with its language and fascinated by its war-themed subject.

"Like Henry, I felt that I was being pulled in a lot of directions," he said. "I wasn't sure how or where I could make my contribution. The play, which is full of this staggering poetry, was a great lexicon for me when I was trying to discover the consequences of my choices."

Amendt, now in his mid-20s, gets to fulfill a personal dream, and to learn more about Henry from an adult perspective, when he plays the title character of the drama at the Guthrie Theater. Director Davis McCallum's production opens Wednesday in the Dowling Studio.

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Production photo by Michal Daniel, 2009