‘‘He made me do it 15 times,’’ Stroud recalled. ‘‘He pushed me. It was intense.’’
Stroud began to understand the story of ‘‘Othello,’’ and why such a powerful man could fall for a deception that cost him his beloved Desdemona and himself.
‘‘He was a black man and he was honored,’’ said Stroud, pointing to Othello’s strengths.
But he was flawed. ‘‘I automatically identified with him. I am human. I make mistakes. I am misunderstood.’’
When he played Macbeth, he recited lines while doing push-ups and walking around the house. He recruited his mother, who would sit on the sofa in the living room, sipping soda while Stroud strutted around her speaking in his crisp baritone.
‘‘She would smile and say ‘you’re so cute,'’’ he recalled. ‘‘I had her play every character so I could get my lines.’’
Aunts and cousins got used to seeing him walking in the apartment, talking to himself.
It’s all part of the process, but it’s also work that Stroud hopes will pay off.
‘‘Throughout this process, I have grown more as an actor,’’ he said. ‘‘When I started, everything was difficult. Even the language, it was difficult to master. But it was fun to master.’’
His favorite line: ‘‘All things be ready if our minds be so.’’
That is from ‘‘Henry V.’’