Rob’s One-Man Shows

I have written and performed three one-man shows (or “elevated lectures”) over the years. With a few weeks notice, I can perform any one of the shows at a community center, senior community, school, church, or any other venue. They are filled with props and exciting slide show. Each show runs around 80-90 minutes, though I can make them shorter as necessary.

#1: RED, WHITE, & BARD – A Celebration of William Shakespeare in America. My one-man play “Red, White & Bard” is a culmination of more than two decades of incorrigible bardolatry as well as ten years of performing at schools and elsewhere as an actor-educator with Shakespeare in the Vines. RWB is a solo performance celebrating America’s 300-year love affair with Shakespeare, using humor, wit, and stuffed animals from The Lion King, and many other surprises.

Besides exploring the ways in which Shakespeare has influenced Americans, I also talk about what he has meant to me personally. I touch on my initial negative experience with his works in high school; my college years when I did my best to avoid him; and my year in exile northeast Pennsylvania as an editorial assistant with Highlights for Children when I finally fell in love with his plays. As I put RWB together, I began to realize that Shakespeare—for better or worse—has shaped my life.

#2: HAMLET’S GUIDE TO HAPPINESS: 7 Life Lessons from the Greatest Play Ever Written.  Of all Shakspeare’s works, the Tragedy of Hamlet is Shakespeare’s most insightful exploration—as well as is most popular—of what it means to be a human being. In my show, I look at look at the profound, fascinating, and funny aspects of the play, taking you through it chronologically. We’ll discuss 7 life lessons I’ve drawn from the play. I’ll also perform some of the well-known speeches by the Ghost, Claudius, the Gravedigger, and—of course—Hamlet himself. As with Red, White & Bard, the show encourages audience participation. Don’t worry—volunteers only. Whether you’ve seen the play numerous times or you only know about that one really, really famous speech, there’s plenty to discover in this “Poem Unlimited.”

#3: ROMEO AND JULIET’S GUIDE TO LOVE: 7 Lessons from the Most Romantic Play Ever Written. My latest show/lecture explores The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. Two contrasting impressions come to mind when we think of the play: Our first impression is that of a passionate, all-consuming romance between a boy and a girl who risk everything for each other in the most sublime expression of young love that has ever existed. The second impression is a kind-of photo negative of the first—two reckless, hormonal teenagers whose irresponsible, whirlwind affair leads to the deaths of several of their friends and relatives as well as to their own tragic suicides. Over 90 minutes or so, I will take you through the play, highlighting seven lessons I’ve found in it, reciting some of the famous speeches, and discussing its fascinating performance history.

The motto for all my lectures is: Fun, not footnotes. When in doubt, I will choose a good joke—maybe even a bad one—over a weighty academic point. I’m an actor who dabbles in scholarship, not a scholar who dabbles in acting. I hope you leave my lectures with a richer appreciation for Shakespeare’s plays, but more importantly, I want you to enjoy yourselves.

Send me an email if you’d like to explore having me come to your venue in the near future!

Rob Crisell