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October 23, 2016

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July 4, 2016

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In the wrong theatre with the charming Keegan-Michael Key!

October 12, 2016

My friend, Charles Ward, had kindly invited me to the New Yorker Festival (October 7-9), to be in the audience of an interview/talkback with Jay and Mark Duplass (HBO's 'Togetherness' amongst many others). As the lights lowered Charles elbowed me to notify me of our snafu—we were in the wrong theatre! But we decided to stay, and what a blast of serendipity that was—I got to hear about the life and career of Keegan-Michael Key! President Obama's anger translator was a joy to watch and hear. As a theatre director I was particularly struck by Key's desire to do straight theatre. Having trained as a 'dramatic' actor at the University of Detroit Mercy and Penn State, his career took a significant shift into comedy, and he pined how he was "eager to play Richard II or even Hamlet; and of course Lear in about 30years!" A man after my own past-performing (and current-directing) heart.

 

What spoke to me most deeply was Key's take on 'movie stars' versus 'great actors', and his preference for the latter. He proposed the difference lay in a great actor's ability to change their 'essence'; that indefinable quality that allows the watcher to be utterly convinced that they are experiencing a completely different person—heart, body and soul. He cited Daniel Day-Lewis and Meryl Streep. No argument from me. I sincerely hope Keegan-Michael Key gets to play his hearts-desire roles. Maybe directed by yours truly? Who knows! At least we'd be able to gauge if he falls into his own 'great actors' category...

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