Just finished closed as a young Friar Laurence in Mercury Glass Theatre’s production of Romeo and Juliet at the great Teatro LaTea. The Friar is a sort of “peacemaker” between two factions dead set on destruction of the other. And I’m always fascinated how undertaking each new role changes you in some way. This is especially true with Shakespeare, as the language is so dense that even weeks into a performance you find yourself discovering new meanings of the text.

The biggest influence though for me happened after right after our closing performance. Some friends and I went out to celebrate, and as we were walking on the sidewalk toward our food spot, these two guys were getting into a fight. As they exchanged drunken vitriol I could see it was going to go to blows shortly. Still being in “Friar mode” I felt compelled to walk up to them and just stand there — uncomfortably close to them — and stare. They both stopped to look at me, and I said to one of them “Walk away.” He did, and that was that.

It’s eye-opening to see how Shakespeare’s work still affects us so deeply some 400 years afterwards, and what fun it is discovering parts of yourself previously unknown through the work.