Be yourself. No more hiding.
Stewart: It takes a woman!
Tavis: Yeah, exactly (laughter).
Stewart: Well, in my case, it took a Hungarian black belt judo player who’s also a director. I had lunch one day with him and his wife and lunch was over and they both left the room and I thought they’re going to make coffee.
Suddenly, my arms are gripped from behind me and pulled back by this guy and his wife appeared with a pair of scissors and I knew exactly what she was going to do. I began to yell and scream and struggle, but he was so strong that I couldn’t move. He had me pinned.
She lifted up my hair and it all went. I was screaming and howling at them. Then he came around, he never let go of me and he knelt in front of me and he said, “Now be yourself. No more hiding.”
Tavis Smiley interviews Patrick Stewart
Transcript, April 23, 2010
Changes in Perception
In this interview, Tavis Smiley and Patrick Stewart talk about bravery, honesty, acting and Shakespeare. Here, they edge into bravery by touching on hair loss, first relating that Andre Agassi embraced baldness because of his wife’s support. Then, we learn about the dramatic way in which Patrick Stewart lost a “Rudy Giuliani” style comb-over.
This is a fun interview.
Patrick Stewart tells us about having Shakespeare read to him as a boy and not understanding a word of it, but thinking it was exotic and wonderful. I’m a big fan of reading big, beautiful language to very young children. Some of my earliest memories are the sound of my mother’s voice, reading to me. She read what she loved; she loved it, so I knew that hearing it and reading it was important – but it wasn’t Shakespeare. I wonder what Shakespeare would have been like for my toddler self.
I’ve noticed that when Shakespeare is well done I don’t need to understand every separate word. I absorb it. The expression of Shakespeare is what comes through so exquisitely. I strain while feeling what the actors feel, and linguistic comprehension shoots through like little lightening bolts of enlightenment. Elizabethan English is not quite a foreign language, but at times it might as well be. For me, the sensation is like knowing just enough of a foreign language to understand it without trying too hard, but trying nonetheless because I don’t want to miss anything.
Patrick Stewart (Star Trek‘s Jean Luc Picard) and David Tennant (the young Doctor Who) are both in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s updated production of Hamlet. Tennant is stunning in Hamlet’s “To be, or not to be” scene – Sci fi buffs will forget they watching the same person who was The Doctor.
The DVD will be released on May 4th. In the meantime you can watch Hamlet on PBS’s Great Performances site.