A Life in the Theatre
Reviewed by David Kashimba
Photo by David Allen

A Life in the Theatre, now playing at Aurora theatre in Berkeley, is a story about the joys and painful isolation of an actorís life. Written by David Mamet (Glengarry Glen Ross) the play follows the daily lives of two actors Ė one young, one old. Robert, the older actor, is aware of the ephemeral nature of his profession, beautiful as a flower but as delicate and short lived. John, the younger actor, has the confidence and impatience of youth.

While John looks up to Robert as a mentor, he easily loses patience with the older manís peculiar quirks, acquired from the ironic isolation of his theatrical life. And it is out of this isolation, of traveling from city to city in touring productions or never knowing where or when youíll land your next role that Robert reaches out to John, and itís because of this isolation that he is so easily wounded by Johnís impatience.

This subtle story is told through a series of scenes showing the actors both on stage and off. Though there is universality in their story that can touch everyone in the audience, the poignancy of Robertís isolation is very much tied to his profession. For this reason, the play may not work for everyone in the audience. However, if you enjoy good acting, Michael Shipley and Warren Keith are top notch as John and Robert. They show the importance of performance to an actor Ė a powerful, magical experience of being one with an audience that hangs on your every word Ė and how empty life can suddenly become when the performance is over.

For tickets and more information call (510) 843-4822 or visit www.auroratheatre.org.

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