Last year, SCT alum and Broadway/movie/TV star Tyrees Allen, came to us with a project: he wanted to perform David Mamet’s two-man show “A Life in the Theatre” in the Sunflower space. Equally exciting for us, he wanted the other actor to be Bob Wearing who, like Tyrees, grew up on our stage and is now finding his way in professional theatre in the Kansas City area.
David Mamet, for those who aren’t familiar with the name, is one of the most accomplished theatre talents of the last 50 years. He is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author for “Glengarry Glen Ross” (also a film starring Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, and Alec Baldwin) and “Speed-the-Plow.” He has written and directed over 40 movies, has written books on philosophy, film, and theatre, and is considered one of the great intellects in the arts today.
“A Life in the Theatre” presents a series of episodes with Robert (Tyrees), an actor in the maturity of his career, and his relationship with John (Bob), an actor at the beginning his journey. Throughout the evening they interact backstage and onstage. Their characters evolve as Robert becomes less certain of his place in his world and John grows in confidence and ego.
As a director, I try not to predetermine the outcome of a show — it’s best to simply guide the actors as they create their own play, through their talent, energy, and the symbiotic natural evolution that comes from their art. It’s been incredibly exciting to see where these two talents have taken this script.
It’s also been just plain fun to sit with Tyrees and Bob during the down times at rehearsals, and share experiences and stories, almost all of which relate in some way back to the play. It’s exciting to work with such talent.
The gift that Tyrees has given to the theatre, to Salina, and indeed, to Bob, is priceless. “A Life in the Theatre” is at once funny, sad, and touching. Please don’t miss this jewel, this gift.
You can get tickets here.