‘Shatner’s World: We Just Live In It’ – William Shatner’s New One-Man Show

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When you hear the name William Shatner the first thing that comes to mind is probably Star Trek and with good reason. The iconic TV series has a cult following that has stood the test of time and William Shatner’s Captain Kirk has played a large part in the franchises continued success. But what you don’t know is that beyond the galaxy of (haha yes I went there) of Shatner’s science fiction superstar dome is a world of comedy, theater and lifetime of stories you may just be surprised to discover.

In his latest adventure, William Shatner has returned to his theater roots to star in a one-man show named “Shatner’s World” where he recounts his career in entertainment from his days in theater to Star Trek and beyond. It’s an entertaining, funny and surprisingly poignant look into the life and times of one of America’s most icon entertainers.

I recently had the chance to chat with Mr. Shatner about “Shatner’s World”. Take a peak at this wild ride just after the jump.

“Shatner’s World” hits 700 theaters across the U.S. Thursday, April 24th. Check http://shatnersworld.com for times and locations in your area!

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William Shatner: The highlight is at the end of the evening…I think I am safe in saying that at every performance that I have done, the people have stood up and applauded and the emotion that comes over the footlights between me and the audience its moved me to tears many times. There is an affection at the end of the evening that is palpable and that truly is the highlight for me.

“Shatner’s World” in a lot of ways calls back to your very beginnings as a performer in the theater. How was it for you getting the chance to return to your roots in the live theater setting to connect with audiences in this way?

William Shatner: It was enormous. I have been asked over the years, since the last time I was on Broadway, to come back and do a play and in some cases a musical. But they need a six month commitment really and I didn’t have that time nor was I willing to leave my home and hearth for that length of time so I kept turning them down. There came a point not so long ago I thought well I guess that’s it for me and Broadway and within months of that came the opportunity to go to Broadway with this show and go to the exact theater where I had been last with my last Broadway play. So the irony of that or the beauty the symmetry of that was not lost on me.

And what was that last chance for you to be on Broadway?

William Shatner: It was “A Shot in the Dark” with Julie Harris many years ago.

Someone once said that there are no failures in Hollywood only people who gave up too soon. In Shatner’s World you mention several struggles you had in your career early on. I was wondering what your defining moment was?

William Shatner: Well I tell you I’ve had the kind of career that was a slow build. Every time something sensational was supposed to happen oh this was going to make you a star I’ve heard innumerable times didn’t work out that way. But there was this slow wave of attention and activity that actually I think climaxed in this one-man show. To go on stage alone for an hour and a half to two hours and hold an audience and get the kind of reaction I’ve been getting; that’s the accumulation of the years of experience and attention and it didn’t happen suddenly. There was no defining moment or there was a series of small wavelets.

How did you take this very full life that you’ve had and make the tough choices to reduce it down to a 90 to 120 minutes of performance. Where there any stories that made the cutting room floor that you would like to have brought to the show?

William Shatner:  There were many. In fact I had to lose some getting the show ready for Broadway trying to sharpen it and refine it and reduce it to its supreme moments if you will to where it optimizes everything I wanted to say and try to cut out not only stories but extraneous words. It’s a difficult process and yet the show, the core of the show was to say YES to life, to give this idea this concept that life is precocious and it needs to be embraced with both arms and smothered by you because it’s over so quickly. The stories that went along that spine, that core, were the stories that I kept. There was certainly a theme and that is saying YES to life.

Is there one quick story that didn’t make it in that you can relay to us now?

William Shatner:  [laughter] I’m busy now trying to relearn the lines that I knew a few months ago. To start talking about another story will totally confuse me! But there’s lots of material in the kind of life I’ve led. Last night hearing a veteran a young man who had his leg blown off in Iraq talk about what Star Trek meant to him and how it kept him alive is worthy of a story right there. Stories are happening as I breathe but the ones that are set are the ones that are down on paper.

The Shatner’s World is very funny. Would you talk a little bit about your sense of humor, were you always this funny or is it something that kind of developed over time?

William Shatner: Well when I was in Canada for about five years after I came out of University I did, not every week, but a play a week for mostly five years. I was doing reparatory, stock and most of the plays I did that were popular at the time were these one set Broadway plays that were popular back in those days. Those plays were written by playwrights so that they would be rented by theatrical groups across the country and all they had to do was build one set, fill in the five or six actors and they had a play going. So there was a formula and I was participating in that formula of the one set three-act comedy. That was what I did. I played comedy in Canada. I was a lite comedian. So where that came from…you’re probably born with a sense of humor and it develops by practice. I was practicing unbeknownst to myself. I think things are funny, that most animosity can be swaged by humor so that rather than fight verbally against something that is insulting you can turn it to your advantage if you can use humor and that’s the operating principle I guess.

It seems like you’ve done just about everything in life. What’s left on your bucket list?

William Shatner: I haven’t done anything in life. I feel unaccomplished and I feel like I’m nothing and you know being a performer once the performance is over it’s gone it’s in the ether somewhere and it may just as well not happened. So the next night is the next challenge. It’s a challenge of many kinds. It’s a challenge of redoing that performance that only you can remember from last night doing it today. The challenge is also whether there will be an audience. The actors’ remorse is I’m going to do a performance tonight I hope an audience will be there. And I’m feeling that way right now in doing all this publicity is an attempt to fill that gap of my goodness I hope 700 theaters will be filled up with people coming to see the show. There’s so much to do and so little time left to do it.

What do you think of the science fiction and fantasy shows today? Do you think any of them will be able to match the cult following that Star Trek still has?

William Shatner: Well that’s hard to say. There’s been some wonderful science fiction on TV and especially in movies. These special effects of late the way the technology has bloomed it’s extraordinary. It is the epic films of today where Cecile B DeMille had ten thousand people…real people in a shot, now they may have ten and everything else is computerized. So from that point of view it’s far, far superior. The essence of great science fiction is its humanity and we had some wonderful writers on Star Trek and the many iterations of Star Trek who wrote human stories. Certainly the series that I was in had very bad special effects compared to today but that didn’t matter. The story suspended your disbelief and you accepted the wobbly sets and the spaceship.

I follow you on Twitter and have enjoyed your tweets. I was also delighted to see that you are just as big a fan of the show “Once Upon a Time” as I am and have enjoyed your interactions with the creators (Adam Horowitz) and cast. Any chance of seeing you in a future season of the show?

William Shatner: I realized as I was doing it that I hope they’re not thinking I want to get on the show but it’s just fun. You know the whole social media thing is so new. We don’t know where it’s going to go. I was at a table the other day with three young men. One was twelve years old, fourteen and sixteen and I didn’t know who they were and they didn’t know who I was and it was an event and everybody at the even came to see these three kids and I didn’t know who they were. Well they were the kids that were popular on Vine which is six seconds. So it went from tweeting which is itself is 148 characters…now it’s six seconds! So where is social media taking us? We don’t know but it’s so new, so with it, so cool that we’ve gotta try it.

Absolutely. In fact I’ve seen other shows cast actors from other networks for instance I think it was Law and Order: SVU that recently cast an actress from ABC Family. The creator was tweeting with one of the actresses who said she was a fan of the show and would love to do a guest spot so they made it happen just like that!

William Shatner: What a way to cast!

“Shatner’s World” hits 700 theaters across the U.S. Thursday, April 24th. Check http://shatnersworld.com for times and locations in your area!