What just happened? What did I see last Thursday night? Just two legendary actors doing their work. As natural as breathing, and as fresh as I’d ever seen. Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart are giving a master class on acting at Berkeley Rep right now, and I was lucky enough to have a front row seat.
I’m very happy that this is happening in the Bay Area right now. We’re so fortunate that Berkeley Rep was chosen first to get a try-out of No Man’s Land before heading to Broadway this Fall. I’ve been following @SirPatStew and @IanMcKellen on Twitter, and checking in on stories and tidbits from their time spent here. It’s all very fascinating to observe. What can you do when you have two legendary acting greats in your own backyard? At least, buy a front row ticket so that I don’t have any distractions except for what’s in front of me.
I got a master class in acting. It was all there to see. I felt like there was no effort to any action they took. They breathed. They danced around each other with such poetry. I can’t say much more than how awestruck I was. I knew my face was probably on the floor, by the time the lights went suddenly down. I honestly did not want the show to end. There were so many moments that I won’t forget. And yes, I could’ve gone in to this show with the idea that I was going to watch Gandalf and Picard battle it out onstage, but it was much more than that. I didn’t see or hear those characters, thankfully. There were moments when McKellen did have the gravity and timbre that he gives Gandalf, but that was easy to overlook. Stewart also disappeared into his character – and at times, as he sat in a very comfy leather chair, I could see Picard if I wanted to.
That aside, I’m only able to strip it down to its very basic element: here are two actors who have been doing this a very a long time; who have a passion for life and the craft they do; and it was clear to me that they love acting.
I could go on, but in the end, I am very inspired by the work I saw. I feel like if I threw everything I knew out the window, and started over, I would at least be on the same ground, because they made it look effortless.
See this production if you’re able to.