Genre: Live Performance
Character: Leo Tolstoy
In 2004, I was asked by the wonderful director and actress Diane Salinger to take part in a live performance for an exclusive event in Santa Barbara.
As it turns out, it was a surprise performance for Oprah Winfrey, whose book club had selected Anna Karenina as the book of the month. The venue was a lavish mansion (whose owners wish to remain anonymous).
The dinner was served by a complete entourage of servants dressed in Czarist Russian costumes, and the guests included Ivan Reitman and of course, Oprah Winfrey herself.
As the second course was being served, I emerged from the wings in character and costume, as Leo Tolstoy, engaging the guests, flirting with the women, and expounding about my master work, Anna Karenina, which was the cue for my co-star Aleksandra Kaniak to join me (as Anna).
It was a unique experience, the best part of which was seeing the expression on the faces of the guests as they were confronted in the middle of dinner with Leo Tolstoy and his creation.
I wonder if Ivan Reitman remembers me? I’ve never written, although I should.