Patrick Stewart and T.R. Knight star in the Broadway premiere of David Mamet's two-hander.
What Is the Story of A Life in the Theatre?
The title says it all: In a series of 26 short scenes, an older actor named Robert and a younger actor named John portray life onstage and backstage, morphing into a variety of of characters (doctors, doughboys, sailors, lawyers) and then back into themselves. Chatting at their makeup tables or at the stage door, Robert serves a mentor to his young colleague, and yet it’s clear that he envies John’s youth and sense of possibility. John respects Robert and yet chafes at some of the older actor’s advice and commentary. Still, the two men form a strong stage partnership that’s entertaining and touching to watch.
What Is A Life in the Theatre Like?
This fast-paced 90-minute play features multiple quick changes for stars Patrick Stewart and T.R. Knight, who give tour-de-force performances in a range of accents and acting styles. (When the actors are performing scenes from plays within the play, they turn their backs and face an unseen “audience” at the back of the stage.) This is not a typical David Mamet script—there are only a couple of four-letter words, for example—and the two stars earn lots of laughs as they banter about each other’s performances, pre-show routines and after-show plans. There’s a sweetness to A Life in the Theatre that will appeal to anyone who loves the stage.
Is A Life in the Theatre Good for Kids?
These vignettes of backstage life will not interest small children, but stagestruck teens may find the play right up their alley.