Traditionally theater performance is just thought of as plays and musicals and the like, but it can take on many forms. One of those being a motivational seminar like the one noted actor Glenn Morshower gave at the Eisemann Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday night, called The Extra Mile.
Morshower is instantly recognizable when you see him. With more than 200 movies to his credit the Dallas native has accumulated a lifetime of experience in performance, getting his start at Dallas Theater Center at the tender age of 12.
He's a natural in front of an audience, confident and comfortable. He spins an entertaining yarn mixing equal parts humor and poignancy. And he fills the role of guide through life with great aplomb.
The Extra Mile is a project Morshower took on to essentially take his philosophy on life to the people, accurately sensing that it'd be something they'd react positively too. The evening includes anecdotes, inspirational and motivational messages and some performance all delivered with unwavering, almost manic, energy.
He claims to not work from a script, and it shows. The first act, opened by local singer/songwriter Gary Lynn Floyd, lasts nearly two hours. Walking out of the theater during intermission two ushers could be overheard saying to each other that Morshower had gone 30 minutes over. But, the funny thing is, no one minded. The reason for the overage was that Morshower, shooting from the hip, kept remembering stories, many of them hilarious, that he wanted to tell. Stories like fishing in a busy intersection or how food can be used to calm the nerves during an audition. His enthusiasm was contagious, and coincidentally, the point of the entire presentation.
The Extra Mile is exactly what it sounds like. It's that idea that to truly succeed in life one needs to go the extra mile to attain it. Simple yet presented in a unique, engaging way.
Performance is often a narrow concept to most. What Morshower is able to do with The Extra Mile is take his experience as a traditional performer and apply that to an often stale medium, the motivational speech. How many people have sat in a hotel ballroom bored out of their minds at whatever random person was trying to motivate for more production.
Morshower takes the whole idea of a motivational speech and turns it on its ear. And there's something for everyone because he doesn't limit his focus to one thing or one area. It focuses on the individual rather than the task, and thus, is able to say something to everyone. The spiritual person, the professional, the family guy or gal and the actor.
Yes, on top of being a solid performance, actors will want to see this because there's a lot of inside info and good tips on how to make it, no matter how uncomfortable putting syrup in your shoes may be.
Though it's certainly not a traditional night at the theater, and may even make you wonder "is it theater?", Morshower delivers a solid combination of information and entertainment in a package not often seen utilized so effectively. And in the end, if success and happiness lie at the end of the extra mile, Glenn Morshower is a pretty good guide for the journey.