Kenneth Ransom studied psychopaths for Bell Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar

Kenneth Ransom.
Kenneth Ransom.

ACTOR Kenneth Ransom bonded with Terri Irwin over a commonality they shared when he worked on her late husband Steve Irwin’s 2002 film The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course.

“We’re both American and got to Australia the same way, by moving here with our partner,” Ransom said.

Ransom’s wife is former Black Swan State Theatre artistic director Kate Cherry and LA-born and trained Ransom is a familiar face to audiences of the theatre company’s productions, including The House on the Lake and Glengarry Glen Ross.

The couple moved from North Perth to Sydney in 2016 with their son when she became the director of NIDA.

Ransom will return to Heath Ledger Theatre in August during Bell Shakespeare’s tour of Julius Caesar, where he plays the title role in an inclusive and diverse cast.

“I’d been in two other productions of Julius Caesar playing Octavius when I was quite a young man,” he said.

“When James (Evans, director) asked me to be in the production, I thought he’d ask me to play Brutus but no, he said Caesar. I was shocked because I’d never thought of myself as Caesar.

“He said something about representing an older generation and there is definitely a theme in the play about a change in leadership and renewal in getting rid of the old guard, if you will.

“I didn’t see myself as that old guard. I’ve never come from that perspective, so it’s been interesting for me to explore.”

Part of this exploration has seen Ransom researching psychopaths.

“That’s a quick way of saying that Caesar had to be an incredibly precise and uncompromising character, given his history and what he was able to accomplish, what he faced and what eventually happened to him,” Ransom said.

“I believed there was something in him that was innate, which is why I started on the psychopath track. He was able to do things that other people would find difficult and not be squeamish.

“There was something incredibly exceptional in his make up with the way he looked at the world and how he functioned in it. So much so that the group of people around him, who he trusted, saw their only way to deal with or subdue him was to get rid of him entirely.

“When you think of that as their only choice, it is extraordinary.”

THE ESSENTIALS

What: Julius Caesar

Where: Heath Ledger Theatre

When: August 8 to 11

Tickets: www.ptt.wa.gov.au

Where: Mandurah Performing Arts Centre

When: August 14

Tickets: www.manpac.com.au