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INTERVIEW: Tony Award Winner John Glover To Appear In Bay Streetís Staged Reading Of "The Tempest"

Originally Posted: August 11, 2014

Douglas MacKaye Harrington

John Glover stars as Prospero. (Courtesy Photo)

On Saturday, August 16 at 7:00 p.m. Bay Street Theater will present a free staged reading of William Shakespeare's The Tempest at Mashashimuet Park in Sag Harbor. The reading will feature renowned stage, screen and television actor John Glover in the lead role of Prospero. Nominated for numerous Tony, Obie, Emmy and Drama Desk Awards, Glover won the Tony Award for his dual character performance in Terrance McNally's Love! Valour! Compassion! Hamptons.com had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Glover prior to his arrival in the Hamptons via telephone from his California home.

You have successfully weaved an acting career in theatre, film and television, which medium do you prefer most and why?
John Glover: It really is about the part, I have been lucky enough to play terrific roles in various mediums. That said, stage is the most exciting because it is live. I started in theatre and that is mostly what I am doing now.

I have always held that one is not complete as an actor until one has preformed Shakespeare; I know this is not your first dance with the Bard, do you agree and do you approach Shakespeare differently as an actor?
JG: I really had not done Shakespeare for almost 30 years until recently, but when I started out I did a lot of Shakespeare. I spent a couple of seasons at the Old Globe in San Diego playing some great parts and a season at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Connecticut, and I played Hamlet at the Walnut Street Playhouse in Philadelphia in the seventies, a great deal of Shakespeare when I was younger. Yes, you do have to approach it differently, particularly the language, the way you use your mouth and mind and, of course, learning and understanding the lines. It is a different muscle, both a different mental and physical muscle. When I was younger the lines were just there, now I definitely have to work at it. I played one of the Witches in Macbeth at Lincoln Center this past year, I also played the Porter and it allowed me to ease back into Shakespeare, as I had less dialogue. I followed that this summer playing Leonato in Much Ado About Nothing in Central Park, both directed by Jack O'Brien.

Are there challenges in doing a staged reading that are different to a performance in a full production?
JG: Oh, for sure! That is what I have been talking to Scott about, how much staging are we going to be able to fit into the reading? [Scott Schwartz, Artistic Director, Bay Street Theater] We only have 3-4 days to put it together, so how much staging will we be able to do, particularly in a play that has so much magic in it. We will add as much staging as possible, but we are really trying to tell the story cleanly.

Why Prospero and "The Tempest?" Was it the choice of Bay Street or your preference?
JG: I had worked with Scott on a workshop of a play at a place called The Space on Ryder Farm in Brewster, New York, I had never worked with Scott before, but we had a lot of fun and became friends. I mentioned to him that I had been thinking about playing Prospero for a few years. Then when he was named Artistic Director at Bay Street he called me and asked if I would like to come out for a weekend and do a reading of The Tempest for the people in town. So that is how it came about, I wanted to do Prospero and Scott put it together. I recently joined Facebook and I began to follow Bay Street, it is amazing all that they are doing beyond the plays, like the comedians, new play readings and classes, they are really being active in artistically serving the community.

I am sure this is not your first visit to the Hamptons, but is your first time performing here and if so, any expectations regarding the audience?
JG: Oh no, I actually was in a play during Bay Street's second season, Oblivion Postponed which we took to the Second Stage in New York City. Then I returned a few season's later in 2003 in two one-acts, a Pinter and a Schnitzler. So I know the Hamptons audiences and they are great, very smart!

What is up next for John Glover, anymore Shakespeare on the horizon? Perhaps a return visit to Bay Street next summer, "As You Like It" is under consideration for a full production. I can certainly see you in the role of Jaques with what may be Shakespeare's greatest speech, "All the World's a Stage."
JG: It is a great play and great part, but they are intimidating those great speeches. I saw a production in the late seventies up in Stratford with Maggie Smith as Rosalind and Brian Bedford as Jaques and his performance is still so strong in my mind. He was genius in it. It is a great role, we will have to see what happens.

We should note that Mr. Glover will appear in a second, private VIP Benefit Reading of The Tempest the following evening on August 17th. Please click on the link below for more details.

For more information, click here.

Frequently mistaken for the "Most Interesting Man in the World" from the Dos Equis commercials and the iconic gray-bearded Sean Connery, DMH is the Senior Contributing Editor at Hamptons.com. www.hamptons.com Hamptons HamptonsOnline HamptonsOnline

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