Actor Bill Shein Plays God in Capital Region Theatre Debut
I have been very lucky to keep busy with all the theater opportunities the Capital Region offers throughout the pandemic and I am very pleased to be directing “An Act of God” by David Javerbaum at Curtain Call Theatre. Javerbaum has won 13 Emmy Awards, 11 as a writer for “The Daily Show. When he left the show, the Almighty started to speak to him and he started tweeting @thetweetofGod which led to the best selling book “The Last Testament of God” which led to the Broadway show, “An Act of God” in 2015 starring Jim Parsons. The play is God’s first and last word on everything to set the record straight. He’ll be taking on everything from Kanye to His problems with science, politics and religion.
It’s a Capital Region premiere and even better, all three actors are making their Curtain Call Theatre debuts. Nothing makes me happier than being a part of these opportunities opening up for more new participants to expand and grow the Capital Region theater scene. Taking on the role of God is Bill Shein who is an actor from the Berkshires who I’ve seen in a couple of fantastic productions at The Ghent Playhouse. We squeezed in an email conversation before “An Act of God” opens Thursday and runs through 8/14.
Patrick White: What theater experience did you have that convinced you that you want to be onstage?
Bill Shein: My early performing experience was in stand-up, which started in college almost by accident. I wrote a humor column for the school paper, and over time found myself with some jokes and material that seemed better suited for the stage. I continued doing stand-up in clubs for about five years after college. While I enjoyed that kind of writing and performing, and engaging with an audience one-on-one, I find the collaborative elements of theater and the range of emotion I get to explore as an actor to be more appealing. Among other things, I learn something about myself with each new role/production in ways that are much more fun – and less expensive – than therapy.
What’s your favorite moment you’ve experienced onstage?
There have been many, for sure. A few yea Emmy rs ago I was in a production of “The Laramie Project” in which the stars seemed to align to create some especially powerful moments. I played about a dozen characters, among them Matthew Shepard’s father, who reads a beautiful and powerful statement at the trial of his son’s murderer. The words come from the actual trial transcript and deliver an emotional arc that ends with a marriage of pain and ferocity and unimaginable compassion. I felt that moment very deeply each time I delivered those lines.
Do you have a dream role, favorite playwright or theater you would love to work in and why?
A few years ago I played Eddie Carbone in a production of “A View from the Bridge,” which had been on my dream-role list. I’m currently in “An Act of God,” a very funny, straight-up comedy that also shines much-needed light on issues of our time. Going forward, I’m not looking for specific roles, playwrights, or venues as much as opportunities to dive deep into interesting material and continue to learn, grow, and stretch myself as an actor and collaborator.
After a year and a half without theater, what do you want to see or be involved with onstage?
Almost anything! As an actor, the miracle of live theater is the collaboration with cast and crew that, in my experience, never fails to produce surprises, unexpected insights, new veins of creativity, and emotional connection. In recent weeks, after the enormous challenges and heartbreak of the last year and a half, it’s been a gift to again work alongside others who share this passion to create something original from some words on a page.
“An Act of God” by David Javerbaum
Directed by Patrick White
Curtain Call Theatre 7/22-8/14