Barrymore by William Luce
An interview with Reed McColm.
Describe your show in one sentence.
“The Great Profile” John Barrymore, stage and film icon of the early 20th century, rascally impudent raconteur widely known for his rascal-ish behavior, rehearses Richard III in a rented theatre in 1942, hoping to revive his flagging career.
Okay, now that we’re intrigued… what’s the longer description of your show?
In a decaying New York theatre in the spring of 1942, fabled actor John Barrymore, now sixty years old in an aching body diminished by a lifetime of drink and debauchery, stumbles through rehearsals for a comeback performance of Richard III. He jokes with the audience, spars with an offstage prompter, reminisces about better times, and shares delicious impressions and anecdotes of his many less-than-regal adventures.
What drew you to John Barrymore’s story?
Access to the actor, Patrick Treadway. I first produced the show at Interplayers Professional Theatre in 2013, and Mr. Treadway’s regal mastery of the role made me determined to re-stage the production as identically as possible for tour.
What do you hope audiences walk away from Barrymore thinking about?
What fools we mortals be! What a grand and wasted thing can be this thing we call life.
Anything else you want audiences to know about the show?
It’s very funny, it’s extremely touching, and Mr. Treadway is a wonder. Not often do we get to witness a great actor playing a great actor.
The 36th Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival is August 17 – 27. Get your tickets at tickets.fringetheatre.ca .