James Cameron is best known for Avatar, Titanic and The Terminator. What could this filmmaker have in common with William Shakespeare? At first glance, seemingly these two have nothing in common. However, upon closer inspection, one can find a preponderance of evidence where the two can be compared. Cameron puts together blockbuster films with huge thematic undertones, and Shakespeare put together plays with huge thematic undertones. Both have a propensity for a hero, usually a tragic one. Therefore, it is not surprising that someone decided to merge them in a stage play to beat all stage plays.
Bootless Stageworks in Wilmington, Delaware found just that combination in Marshall Weber’s and Cody DeVos’ WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE PRESENTS…TERMINATOR THE SECOND. The play takes the story of the film The Terminator II and combines it with the language of Shakespeare to create one of the most unique shows I have seen performed on stage…and Bootless Stageworks did it brilliantly. For those unfamiliar with The Terminator films (where have you been all your life?), the story is that of Sarah Connor who is trying to raise her son, John, to become the future leader of the human resistance against Skynet – an artificial intelligence system. The Terminator ends up helping to save John and Sarah against the T-1000, which was sent back in time to kill John (since he has become the leader his mother trained him to be in the future). Confused? Well, weave this entire story through the language of Shakespeare and things really get interesting.
The cast of WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE PRESENTS…TERMINATOR THE SECOND is one filled with actors that are experienced with Shakespeare. Melissa Kearney (Sarah Connor) has Shakespearean credits of AS YOU LIKE IT and RICHARD II. Sean McGuire (John Connor) lent his talents to THE TEMPEST, HENRY IV, Part One, RICHARD II, and MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, while Tom Trietley (The Terminator) appeared in A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM. This was a cast full of those that have graced the stage to speak the Bard’s language. Their expertise was not lost in this production, as it takes an eloquence only known to those that have performed Shakespeare’s work to be able to speak in iambic pentameter and be understood by an audience not so well versed in nuances that make Shakespearean language so rich.
Kearney portrays the anger and frustration of a mother trying to protect her son and train him for his eventual future role with passion and enough drive to drag the audience with her through this tumultuous tale. She is firmly supported by McGuire, who masterfully portrayed the teenager, John Connor, right down to the gestures that screamed of 90s grunge angst. I would not have thought that any actor could match Arnold Schwarzenegger’s monotone from the films until I heard Trietley utter his first few lines. The good news here is that Trietley’s lines are always delivered with perfection, so they can be completely understood. This was not always the case for Schwarzenegger in the films.
The only disappointment in this production, which included a multitude of near flawless scene changes and a couple car chases…(yes, you read that right…there are several car chases), was the small audience. This cast, under the brilliant direction of Rosanne DellAversano, deserved to have a full house. I was sad to see this show end, as “parting is such sweet sorrow”; however, after seeing my first show at Bootless Stageworks, I can only respond in one way…”I’ll be back!”
Bootless Stageworks production of WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE PRESENTS…TERMINATOR THE SECOND runs through October 5th.
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE PRESENTS…TERMINATOR THE SECOND
A play in Five Acts by Marshall Weber & Cody Devos
Based on the original story by James Cameron & William Wisher, Jr.
Directed by Roseanne DellAversano
September 26 – October 5, 2014
St. Stephen’s Church
1301 N. Broom Street
Wilmington, Delaware 19806