Captain’s Log, Stardate 01:18:2013, the ship’s entertainment correspondent and I went out to explore the Arlington Theater in Santa Barbara, Ca. to see the one-man show “Shatner’s World.”
It was AWESOME! Enter the man himself, William Shatner and with a backdrop of stars and his co-chair, an actual chair that he sat in, danced with, and occasionally drove around the stage. We were entertained with stories of his life and career, told the best way possible; through a comically philosophical lens, full of wit and lightyears of heart. Shatner shared personal pictures and stories of growing up in West Mount, Quebec, Canada from his hitchhiking adventures through the United States, and the genesis of his life in the theater and radio, to his appearances on television and in movies. Within 2 hours and no intermission, through stories, video clips, pictures and sound, we got a poignant glimpse into a viewport window of Shatner’s World.
William Shatner, as a young man, figured out his passion for acting early in life while performing in a camp play. He graduated from McGill University with a Bachelor of Commerce degree in 1952. He started working as a manager for a theater company, but was quickly fired, and then offered a job acting in it instead. His big theater break came when he became Christopher Plummer’s understudy. When Christopher was too ill to perform, Shatner had his opportunity to shine, and he embraced it. He found a lot of success through theater and then later moved on to several television bit parts. Shatner landed the part of Captain James T. Kirk in 1966 which ran until 1969. You know, I find it so hard to believe that The Original Star Trek only aired for 3 years! I guess even back then, the networks still made idiotic decisions when it came to their programming axes. It wasn’t until the 1970′s that his role as Captain Kirk became the iconic character he is today.
In “Shatner’s World.” he shared stories of stealing his neighbor’s motorcycle, not once, not twice, but numerous times. He also talked about accidentally burning up a fellow crew member’s car. He shared of his ongoing relationship with NASA and how during a visit to NASA, he was invited to sit in the LEM (Lunar Excursion Module ). As he relaxed back in the spaceship hammock, the NASA crew had an Enterprise model fly by the viewing window.
Some very moving moments in the evening were when he shared his love and passion for horses. He shared stories of the life and death of his prized horse, ‘Sultan’s Great Day.’ The audience was silent as he walked us through Sultan’s last day. And one of my favorite moments of the evening was when he shared an interview of himself and Sir Patrick Stewart from the documentary “The Captains” It wasn’t until that moment of speaking with him did Shatner come to the realization that it’s ok to be forever known as Captain Kirk. That he has that legacy to pass on to future generations and he should do it with pride.
After all the laughter and a few genuinely touching moments he ended the show talking about his adventures in music. He played a few clips of his songs and shared how those albums and songs came about, proving that he was never “the joke” but rather, “In on the joke”. And then with the rise of music, he performed his song “Real” off of his “Has Been” album, ending the evening with the words, “Sorry to disappoint you, but I’m real.”
After the show, we had tickets to the meet and greet. We got to meet the man himself, take a picture and then partake in a lovely smorgasbord of gourmet food and drink. I have to admit, it was quite a highlight for my co-pilot, hotelsinger, and I. If you’re going to meet an icon of this magnitude, doing it through a show like this is far superior to any convention experience I’ve had. And as a true geek, I’ve had many.
So Mr. Shatner, we give your one-man show “Shatner’s World, we just live in it….” an enthusiastic 4 thumbs up! (That’s 2 thumbs from each of us, in case you wondered. We’re not extraterrestrial… Or our we?)