Phil Seifert plays Lord Montague in OTE Shakespeare in the Hills’ Romeo and Juliet, opening this Friday, July 28 at the Laguna Hills Community Center.
What’s Challenging About Bringing This Script To Life?
The challenge of telling a story dependent on dialogue and emotions in an outdoor venue to an audience more accustomed to hand-held electronics and CGI special effects.
How Is This Production Bringing Something New To This Story?
Setting the story in Alta California in the years just before the Gold Rush and statehood demonstrates the timelessness of the themes of the power of love and reconciliation amidst the devastation wrought by hate and division.
What’s Going To Surprise People About This Show?
Discovering that William Shakespeare (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) wrote some of his dialogue in Spanish (or is it Spanglish?)
Call Out Someone by Name: Who must come see this production?
Matt Thomas and the team with whom I have the privilege of working at Know The Truth. Not to see me, but to enjoy live theatre presented by a talented and accomplished cast.
How is this character like you? Different?
I also am now the patriarch of an English/Irish family – although none of my children or siblings are involved in any blood feuds (at least that I know of).
What do you love about this character?
His willingness to forgive and to reconcile with Capulet, even though it has cost him so dearly. If we are not able to forgive one another for grievances, great or small, we shipwreck ourselves on a deserted island, even though we may live in a teeming metropolis.
What do you hate about this character?
That it took such a cost in bloodshed to come to a reconciliation. False pride and bruised egos have been the major cause of most of the grief and bloodshed over the entire course of human history.
What is the biggest challenge about taking on this role?
Adopting the mindset of someone who bears a deep grudge/animosity against another, to the point of losing his son. I savor the sweet taste of grace and forgiveness, while the bitter gall of an unforgiving spirit makes me retch.
Beside yourself, what celebrity would you like to see tackle this character?
If you could play any other character in this show, who would it be?
Probably Friar Laurence or The Prince– although it would take more acting chops and comedic presence for me to carry off Friar Laurence. I would have no difficulty being the officious and haughty Prince.
When did you first perform?
In high school; in the middle years of the last century. More recently, (i.e. this century) after getting reintroduced to the magic and power of live theatre in small venues through Musical Theatre Village in Irvine and On The Edge Productions here in Laguna Hills. Twelfth Night was my first on-stage role with OTE.
Besides this one, what’s your favorite stage show?
It is hard to pick one out of the many available, but, if forced to choose, I would probably say Kiss Me Kate or Kismet. For drama it would probably be Mr. Roberts or A Man For All Seasons.
What’s your perfect Sunday afternoon look like?
After a week of constant activity between the radio ministry and the demands/opportunities of theatre, I like to just sink into the leather sofa in my family room (that sucks the life force out me), pay proper attention to the cat who shares my residence, and periodically checking to make sure that my eyelids do not leak light.
What do you do when you are not doing theatre?
I have the great privilege of volunteering for Pastor Philip De Courcy’s “Know The Truth” radio ministry and being involved with my church. Also, making sure that I meet the security, sustenance and sanitation needs of the cat who adopted me last year.
If you had a magic wand, what show would you do next?
Shakespeare: The Taming Of The Shrew
What’s the last thing you do before you step on stage?
Thank God (the Audience of One) and commit the performance to His honor and glory; and then remind myself of the secrets to a successful performance detailed by Spencer Tracy: know my lines and don’t run into the furniture.
Phil Seifert was born in the early years of the middle decade of the last century (you all can do the math). He is retired after a 46-year career in the national defense and national intelligence communities including active naval service and am now blessed with the opportunity to volunteer with Kindred Community Church and Philip De Courcy’s bible-teaching radio ministry. He was married for 44+ years (and has now been widowed for 8 years), with two adult children and 5 grandchildren – none of them living in California – so he has time to get involved with community theatre. Phil was adopted by a rescued cat a year-ago who has granted Phil the privilege of meeting his sustenance, security, and sanitation needs, while retaining the absolute right to decide when and where he will grant Phil an audience. Phil looks forward to each day as another opportunity to learn new things and to make a difference in another person’s life – even if it is simply an encouraging word, a smile, a recognition of that person’s presence and inherent value as a child of God.
This summer’s Shakespeare in the Hills production transports the well-loved story of Romeo and Juliet to 1845 and the conflicted world of Alta California. With sword fights, immersive staging, and a blend of comedy and tragedy, this production for all ages is not to be missed!
Bring a blanket or your lawn chair, bring your meal and make it a picnic event for Shakespeare in the Hills’ outdoor performance presented by On The Edge Theatre Productions (www.otetheatre.com). All performances are held at the Laguna Hills Community Center & Sports Complex’s Gazebo and Town Green.
Performances @ 7pm, July 28th & 29th; August 4th & 5th, 11th & 12th. Tickets $10
Age 12 and under free. All participants of age 12 and under must be accompanied by a paying adult. Tickets are sold (cash only) on the day of the show. You may also purchase your ticket early online (class registration). No refunds or transfers for this event. Snacks and refreshments will be available for purchase at this family event. Call 949-707-2680 for more information.
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