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Acting Shakespeare

We went to a great show on Friday. It was a horrible weather night, no restaurants were available because of Gallery Night in the 3rd Ward (an event that allows people to walk about the artsy area of Milwaukee where there are many art galleries that stay open late on these evenings), no parking availability and the eventuality of grabbing a quick bite at a coffee shop made for a suspect start to the evening. After we settled into our seats, the show began and, as with good theater, you are transported into another time and place.

The time? 25 years prior. And the place? We were on Long Island, watching a young man, confused about his life. Does he remain a first mate on a fishing excursion boat, destined to a life on the sea, smelling of fish? Does he go back to college, for the third time, as his family wants him to do? Is there something else out there for him?

Taken from Sir Ian McKellen’s one man production called “Acting Shakespeare,” James DeVita’s one man play of the same name describes the transition from seafarer to Shakespearean actor. Yes, he had the Long Island accent and no, he no longer has one. In fact, it is during his third stint in college that took him into New York City to see Sir Ian McKellen doing “Acting Shakespeare” that sent him down his chosen path. He intertwines anecdotes of his life with Shakespearean prose as well as musing as to Shakespeare’s day-to-day life. It is a funny, poignant journey of discovery, persistence, ambition, success oh and cheese. You see, as he attempts to achieve his dream of becoming an actor his travels take him from Long Island to New York City to Colorado to London to…Milwaukee. He actually finishes his studies here and becomes a professional actor with many touring companies before eventually settling down and doing performances with the American Players Theater in Spring Green, Wisconsin.

It’s a wonderful show and made me want to pull out the Norton Anthologies to re-read some of the plays but alas, the book needs to stay under the table leg, lest the table fall. If you have a chance to see it, go. It’s well worth the rain and wind.

James DeVita website

  1. Paul
    April 19, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    I miss you. *shakes fist at you and your religious practices* Get your ass back on Twitter. I’m fairly certain Jesus would never give up Twitter if he were alive today.

    • Ody
      April 20, 2011 at 5:52 am

      Hey, 4 more days and I will unleash a Sheen-like volcano of tweets! Ah wuh u tew.

  2. Jim
    April 20, 2011 at 9:24 am

    Thanks for the info. The piece indeed sounds interesting. I think it’s great that so many people are re-discovering the classics and making them their own!

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