As the temporary shutdown of Broadway and theatres around the world continues, Playbill is reaching out to artists to see how they are physically and creatively responding to a changed world.
The series continues with Tony nominee Patrick Page, who was starring in the Tony-winning Hadestown when the pandemic closed theatres around the world. The actor has also been seen on Broadway in Saint Joan, Casa Valentina, A Time to Kill, Spring Awakening, Cyrano de Bergerac, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, A Man for All Seasons, Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical, The Lion King, Julius Caesar, The Kentucky Cycle, and Beauty and the Beast. For over 25 years, he has been an associate artist of The Old Globe, where he has played Cyrano, Malvolio, Richard III, Hamlet, Henry V, Autolycus, Antony, Brutus, Benedick, and Mercutio. Page created the roles of Dom Claude Frollo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame at La Jolla Playhouse and Paper Mill Playhouse and Captain Dragutin Dimitrijevic in Rajiv Joseph’s Archduke at the Mark Taper Forum. His screen credits include Elementary, Madam Secretary, Flesh and Bone, Evil, NCIS: New Orleans, The Good Wife, The Blacklist, Chicago P.D., Law & Order: SVU, One Life to Live, and All My Children.
A recipient of the Helen Hayes, Emery Battis, Joseph Jefferson, Matador, and Princess Grace Statue awards as well as the Utah Governor’s Medal for the Arts, Page's recent projects include the upcoming first season of Julian Fellowes' The Gilded Age for HBO plus the streams of his solo show, All The Devils Are Here: How Shakespeare Inspired the Villain, and the title role in Shakespeare@ Home's radio play version of Julius Caesar, which is available free of charge by clicking here.
What is your typical day like now?
I usually wake around seven, answer emails and messages on social media, read the news (The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal, in addition to whatever else catches my eye, trying to get a balance of left and right editorializing). I usually watch a documentary from the PBS streaming channel, which is wonderful. I will often write a bit on one of the projects I’m working on. Most days I have Zoom meetings, interviews, podcasts, or rehearsals for various projects. Then I catch up on my Cameos, which is a great way to connect with fans. I can't work out now because I recently had shoulder surgery, but my physical therapy routine takes some time. In the evening, after dinner, Paige [Davis] and I watch TV. We’ve been tearing through all the best streaming shows—we’ve done GOT, Sopranos, Better Call Saul, Schitt’s Creek, etc. etc.—right now we’re watching Call My Agent on Netflix, which is great fun.
What podcast/book/TV show/film should everyone take the time to consume during this period?
I don’t know what people should consume—that’s so individual. I’ve had the urge to read some things I should know better but don’t—i.e. Crime and Punishment and the King James Bible. But I also love biographies (reading the new Mike Nichols now) and usually have research for projects I’m working on.
During this time of reflection and re-education regarding BIPOC artists and artistry, particularly in the theatre, what do you want people (those in power, fellow actors, audiences) to be aware of? What do you want them to consider further?
I’m certainly not the one to give anyone advice on this subject. It’s more a case of the things I am trying to become more aware of myself. I’ve been trying to ask more questions and to be aware of the ways in which unconscious bias and institutionalized racism has benefited me and held back so many others.
What advice would you give to someone who may be struggling with the isolation and/or the current unrest?
Loneliness and sadness are natural responses to enforced isolation. One shouldn’t judge these emotions too harshly. There is much beauty in solitude, and one can learn a great deal about oneself by accepting, sitting with, and observing uncomfortable feelings.
How, if at all, are you keeping your creative juices flowing? Has that been helpful to you?
When the pandemic began, we started The Patrick Page Podcast, which is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, etc., and I began teaching an online Shakespeare series, which has over 100 students. We began with Learning Lear; the current sessions are Learning Hamlet, and starting in April we will do Learning Twelfth Night. I filmed my one-man show All the Devils Are Here for The Shakespeare Theatre Company, which is available to stream online, and have participated in numerous Zoom performances, including a fully realized Macbeth opposite Hannah Yelland I was especially pleased with.
Are you working on any theatrical projects during this time?
Yes. I’m shooting The Gilded Age for HBO, working on my next solo show with Des McAnuff, and the stage version of Devils with Darko Tresnjak. I’m also enjoying directing a Zoom presentation of A.R. Gurney’s Love Letters with my wife, Paige Davis playing Melissa.
What organization would you recommend people learn more about or donate to during this time of change?
The two organizations most dear to me are Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and Volunteers of America.