Vladimir Putin Rupert Goold Tom Hollander Peter Morgan Tom Stoppard Dafne Keen Olivier Award Ethel Barrymore Theatre Boris Berezovsky Will Keen Britain Russia county Morgan show performer audience actor awards man Features Vladimir Putin Rupert Goold Tom Hollander Peter Morgan Tom Stoppard Dafne Keen Olivier Award Ethel Barrymore Theatre Boris Berezovsky Will Keen Britain Russia county Morgan

Will Keen on Playing Vladimir Putin in ‘Patriots’ on Broadway: ‘The Sign of a Great Liar Is the Ability to Lie to Oneself’

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Jenelle Riley Deputy Awards and Features Editor How do you play someone as notorious as Vladimir Putin? It would be easy to telegraph his cruelty, to turn him into a mustache-twirling villain.

Or to give over entirely to caricature, without capturing what’s beneath the surface. Will Keen, who embodies the president of Russia in Peter Morgan’s latest play, “Patriots,” avoids these pitfalls.

Downplaying the complexity and ambiguity of his performance, he says, “Luckily, he doesn’t have a mustache, so that wasn’t a problem.” The British actor has had some time to live in the president’s skin: He played him in the first readings in 2021, and then in the 2020 Off-West End production and the 2023 West End transfer.

That performance yielded him an Olivier Award for best actor in a supporting role. Now Keen is making his Broadway debut in the play, currently in previews at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. “Patriots” centers on Boris Berezovsky, the oligarch who helped Putin rise to power, onlyto find his creation not to be the puppet he expected.

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