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Churchill Live on Stage

One-man Teleplay Revived as Live Performance

Ronald-Keaton-in-CHURCHILL-2-621x411Ronald Keaton in CHURCHILL Photo: Chicago Sun-Times
The one-man teleplay starring Robert Hardy originally produced in the United States in 1986 by PBS has been revised and brought to the live stage by veteran Chicago actor Ronald Keaton. The play opened to enthusiastic reviews at the Greenhouse Theater in Chicago on August 4th and will run through September 14th. This is a “memory play” that uses as its setting a fictional talk about his life that Churchill gives to an American audience not long after the end of the Second World War.

Keaton has taken the original script by James C. Humes and revised it to include material he gleaned from his own research through reading Churchill biographies by Sir Martin Gilbert, William Manchester and Violet Bonham-Carter. “Back in 1986,” Keaton explains, “I happened to see the original performance of the script in which Robert Hardy played Churchill. I made a VHS tape of it. Not long ago I watched it agan and was transfixed. I then borrowed the setting of Humes’ teleplay and began crafting my own portrait of this largely self-made man.”

Keaton strives to recreate the character of Churchill rather than aim for historical accuracy. Certainly he captures the wise, serious minded yet playful nature of Churchill.  He also bears a strong resemblence to his subject and is even the same height. At Press Night the audience thoroughly enjoyed the performance and laughed a good deal at some old but still entertaining stories.

To learn more about Winston Churchill, please visit www.winstonchurchill.org.

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