Shatner talks about life, laughter and love in Pittsburgh stop
By Catherine Artman and Vaunda Bonnett
Published: Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012, 11:48 p.m.
You're lying on a bunk in an RV, listening to the soft, sleeping breathing of your three daughters after a day on a ski trip. Outside, 3 feet of freshly fallen snow. Suddenly, a piece of fruit falls from a basket, startling you, and you get up to investigate. ... There's an intruder — a rat.
In a case like this, a man might ask himself: What would Capt. Kirk do?
William Shatner, the actor who portrayed the quick-thinking adventurer in the 1960s television series “Star Trek” and its later big-screen continuations, told the story to a close-to-full house of fans from a broad range of ages Thursday night at the Benedum Center.
What would Kirk have done? Looked at his enemy with a sense of wonder as he devised a plan of action. What did Shatner do? Grabbed a ski pole to use as a javelin as he tracked the vermin and chased it into the snow, while clad in nothing but shorts and a T-shirt.
Shatner, 81, is touring with his one-man show, “Shatner's World: We Just Live in It.” Dressed in jeans, a blazer and a vest, he talked to the audience in the Downtown venue about his career and personal loves and losses. At times, he sat on his “co-chair” or at one of the tables to the side as a video clip played. The rest of the time, he paced the stage, sometimes falling into the brisk gait of a vaudeville comedian — a type of humor, he says, that was one of his first loves as a kid growing up in Montreal. That was one of his themes: What do we laugh at?
Working from a scripted monologue, Shatner talked for an hour and 45 minutes. At times his voice was ringing, at times a whisper; his delivery ranged from an intimate conversation to a speech worthy of a monarch — something he's played several of in his career.
He touched briefly on his starring roles in “Star Trek” and “Boston Legal” and talked at length about his early career onstage and in live television. At age 25, he was an unrehearsed understudy who had to go on for Christopher Plummer in a live performance of “Henry V.” But “the muse was on him,” and the evening was a success. “Life is risk,” he says.
Shatner talked a little about some prominent co-stars, like James Spader and Plummer, and shared how Patrick Stewart helped him come to grips with forever being known as Capt. Kirk.
He talked about his father's death, and about the death of his favorite horse, Sultan's Great Day.
“Life,” he says, “doesn't have to end at death if love is present.”
During a telephone interview in advance of the show, Shatner talked about his enjoyment in doing talk shows such as “Shatner's Raw Nerve,” which aired a few years ago on cable television.
“Everyone's got an interesting story; it just takes time to get it,” he said, explaining his approach to conducting such conversations. “Those interview things — plumbing somebody's depths for a moment, wandering along a conversational path — is great fun.”
Admittedly, the conversation on Thursday was one-sided. But for an audience interested in the actor's trek though memories and lessons learned, the evening was, indeed, great fun.
Catherine Artman and Vaunda Bonnett are staff writers for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pitt’s Dixon discusses local signees
- Steelers notebook: Woodley practices but unsure where he’ll play
- Bell gets respect from teammates, foes alike
- Penguins notebook: Injury keeps Malkin out against Sharks
- Ex-Penguins winger Kennedy ‘emotional’ about return
- Greensburg Civic Theatre plans joke-filled ‘Night’
- Pedestrians hit near hot dog shop in Beaver County
- Dark Braddock setting of ‘Out of the Furnace’ reflects a dying way of life
- Mt. Lebanon native, actor Manganiello: Mind focus is the key to fitness
- This just in: Belle Voci holiday concert; Trailer Park Boys at Benedum
- Fashion FYI: FashionAFRICANA celebrates beauty, diversity at Downtown show