Indiana Repertory Theatre, Upperstage;
through March 6.
James DeVita’s solo performance
(the third and last in the IRT’s Going Solo series) was
inspired by Ian McKellen’s Acting Shakespeare, which
chronicled that great British actor’s path to and on the stage.
Seeing that one-man show as a young man
in 1983, DeVita (a fisherman at the time) discovered what he wanted
to do with his life: to perform Shakespeare so that actions match the
words and the words will touch anyone, regardless of education or
The best of DeVita’s story
captures the naive audacity that nudges a young man to audition for a
New York drama school with a “monologue” from Jaws and
apply to England’s most prestigious acting schools with three
non-speaking college theater roles under his belt.
Though DeVita failed to catapult
himself to greatness in these early attempts, hard work finally took
him to a Wisconsin theater troupe, where he has since spent two
decades revisiting Shakespeare’s words and luring audiences to
do the same.
DeVita’s seemingly self-directed
performance, including some commanding Shakespearean soliloquies and
some masterful lighting by Ryan Koharchik, is funny, tender and
moving, but it is not a finished work. Advertised as 90 minutes, In
Acting Shakespeare runs two hours plus with an awkwardly placed
intermission and ending. DeVita needs to fix his focus on
transforming a lifetime of performing into one solid performance.