Thursday, March 22, 2012

POPped Review: 'Shatner’s World, We Just Live in It'

William (Capt. Kirk, T.J. Hooker, Priceline, Denny Crane) Shatner is currently touring in a one-man show entitled Shatner’s World, We Just Live In It.  This journey in to the world of Shatner premiered on Broadway February 16th 2012 for a limited engagement.  He has now taken the show on a very limited tour across the U.S.  

What is Shatner's World... exactly?  The official description is:

“In Shatner’s Worlda one man force of nature delivers a larger than life performance complete with his laugh-out-loud humor, signature storytelling and select musical selections in his inimitable style.

Through anecdotes, songs, jokes and even some poignant moments, you will experience William Shatner's phenomenal path from classically trained Shakespearean actor to cultural icon, brilliantly creating the larger-than-life and most important character he has ever played, William Shatner.” 

The only Los Angeles performance of Shatner’s World was at the Pantages Theatre on March 10th.  Fresh off his Broadway run, Shatner was full of energy – exuding the typical Shatnerian style that he is famous for.  This is also the first show I've been to where the performer received a standing ovation just for walking out on stage.
He celebrates his 81st birthday today, but he certainly doesn’t look it.  As a matter of fact, I saw glimpses of the young Shatner throughout his performance.  He still has all the passion of the original Star Trek-era actor, but now with an impressive career that spans 50 years – never having been paid for anything except performing.  Most recently, his successful run as Denny Crane on Boston Legal and The Practice earned him 2 Emmys and a Golden Globe.  Not bad for someone who has been labelled as a “has-been”.  (Also the title of his 2004 album.)  
Best of all, this show gives real insight into the enigma known as Shatner.  We see his humble beginnings, his brushes with stardom and his eventual infamy.  One also gets the sense of what makes him tick.  For instance, he almost always says yes to any project offered him.  This may make him appear to be a “hack” or a “sell-out”, but he points out how many of these initial projects have led to bigger and better things.
According to Shatner, “‘Yes’ means opportunity . . . ‘No’ closes doors.  ‘Yes’ kicks them wide open.”  Besides, “only stuntmen get hurt.”  He almost said ‘“no” to Boston Legal.  “Yes” earned him two Emmys.  And saying “yes” to the Priceline commercials led to the role of Denny Crane.

Towards the end of the show, Shatner played a clip from a documentary he directed called The Captains.  In this, he interviewed the four other actors that have played captains in Star Trek: Patrick Stewart, Avery Brooks, Kate Mulgrew and Scott Bakula.  The clip was from his interview with Patrick Stewart.  When asked if he would hate being only remembered for playing Captain Picard, Stewart confessed that he would be perfectly fine with that.  To which Shatner responded that in the moment Stewart said that, he suddenly felt that same way and that a large burden had been lifted.
Much of this show is played for laughs and with the same self-deprecating attitude that, I believe, has led to Shatner’s continued success in recent years.  But there are also many moments of candidness that let us better understand this icon of a man – particularly when he speaks of his family or his horses.
If this show comes to a city near you, and you are the least bit a Shatner fan, I highly recommend that you go and see it.  Even if you have to leave your significant other behind, as I did.  And also do yourself a favor and grab a copy of his autobiography 'Up Till Now', and 'Shatner Rules' (your guide to understanding the Shatnerverse).
While you’re at it, Shatner’s wife Elizabeth is campaigning to get Bill a million followers on Twitter for his birthday.  You can find him on Twitter at @WilliamShatner.  

Shatner's World, We Just Live In It is directed by Scott Faris.  Scenic Design by Edward Pierce.  Lighting Design by Ken Billington.  Sound Design by Peter Fitzgerald.  

POPped at warp speed 
by ReevesReel

Sources: Shatner Rules and Up Till Now

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