Behind the scenes at Orlando Shakespeare Theater

A Delayed Roger Rees Recap!

It’s been almost a month since Roger Rees’ one-man show came into town and I am still sitting here in awe.

What an absolute pleasure it was to witness a master artist discuss his life, his work in the theatre, and fascinating tales about other famous actors in various productions of the Bard. And let’s not forget his impressive repertoire of Shakespeare monologues — we heard speeches from Hamlet to Richard III to Romeo and Juliet with a sonnet and some Charles Dickens thrown in.

From his humble beginnings a non-speaking soldier alongside a young Ben Kingsley in the Royal Shakespeare Company to his musings on his time working with Laurence Olivier on The Ebony Tower, no aspect of his career was left untouched. He was fired from his first Shakespearean speaking role in The Winter’s Tale by director Trevor Nunn. “Shakespeare is difficult enough without YOU getting in the way,” he said. But that didn’t sway Roger — he eventually landed another speaking role in Julius Caesar where he successfully managed to pull off the discovery line of Caesar’s dead body.

Several charming jokes were interspersed in dialogue. A Sarah Palin crack, a  a glance into today’s rap music, quips from an imaginative tourist – all were delightful additions to his dramatic fare.

Despite the venue change for the STA reception because of a light rain shower (Florida’s welcoming gift to the attendees), the after-party was a smash! Loads of appetizing food and great company. I met so many interesting people from theaters inspired by the most famous playwright. It still spellbinds me that Shakespeare has such a far reach into several countries all around the world!

Roger was never going to be an actor. When his father died, he moved back home to work and provide for his struggling family. He took a day job as a scenic painter at the Wimbledon Theatre in England. One day while on the job, someone yelled to him where he resided at the back of the house. “HEY, do you wanna be in a play?” And boy are we glad he said yes.

Love and Shakespeare,
A’riel T.
Marketing Intern, Orlando Shakespeare Theater

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