Review by ROBERT DITILLIOAugust 12, 2021 certified reviewer
What I liked
Eric Billitzer is the college professor everyone wishes they had. He presents his subject with humor, and in a very approachable way. You do not have to know Shakespeare to enjoy this show. Eric performs about nine monologues, and before each one he gives a brief synopsis explaining what leads up to the monologue in whichever play it’s from. This brilliant method gives the audience an emotional context for each particular monologue, even though they may not know the entire play, allowing the viewer to embrace the “feeling” of the piece. In one of my favorite sections, Eric explains that performing a Shakespeare monologue in a regional American dialect can often enhance the understanding of the words. He then proceeds to do just that and, sure enough, proves his point! Throughout the show, he also intersperses stories about his personal life and, often, its relationship to Shakespeare’s words. This connects him to the audience even more, and ultimately creates a finale that is unexpectedly moving.
What I didn't like
I saw a preview and there was nothing about the performance I didn’t like. There were some minor tech issues that I’m sure will be ironed out for the regular run, but that is what the preview is for. I will say this. Though Eric presents himself as comical professor to frame the show, he not literally teaching a class! During the preview, one audience member actually started asking him questions! Eric handled this interruption with the skill of seasoned performer and, dare I say it, all’s well that ends well. But audience please, this is not a real class or a stand-up routine. Just watch the show!
My overall impression
Eric Billitzer takes us on a concise and humorous journey through some of Shakespeare’s monologues. On the way, he explains and performs several monologues, and intersperses that with thoughts on Shakespeare from a modern-day perspective, while also sprinkling in stories from his personal life. This show will appeal to anyone, whether they are familiar with Shakespeare or not.