Actor, Director, Teacher, Theater Founder
A CRITIC REMINISCES
It happened at one of the state theater conferences in Prescott. Scenes from various plays were being performed. The woman next to me was clearly excited.
“Oh, my God,” she said. “Someone get me a cold shower!”
No one is going to argue that Randy Messersmith is one of the handsomest men to ever appear on a Valley stage. No one will argue, either, that he gives the lie to the old axiom, “Pretty boys can’t act.”
Or direct. Or teach. Or run college theater programs. Or found prestigious theater companies.
I have seen him do all that and I have been suitably impressed. But I will remember him for just one gig: the title role in “Titus Andronicus” at The Shakespeare Theatre in 2001. (He repeated the role in 2011 at Southwest Shakespeare Company.)
It is perhaps the hardest role in the Bard’s canon. Obsessed with the desire for revenge, dogged by tragedy, Titus is a monster, but a very human one. You don’t always get that on the stage. The monster, yes, the man, no. Randy caught every nuance. He spilled his heart’s blood in scenes of intensely graphic violence. There were times when I had to look away. Some audience members had to leave. It was their loss. They missed one of the great performances.
If a man can create a character as awesome as that, is it any surprise that he can direct critically acclaimed productions, found a prestigious theater troupe (Southwest Shakespeare Company) and be a mentor to theater students at Scottsdale Community College while heading up several of the school’s theater programs?
Not to anyone who’s seen him in action.
PHOTOGRAPHS, REVIEWS & THE KITCHEN SINK
MAY 20013. “Fairy Worlds: An Adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Southwest Shakespeare Company.
JUNE 2001, “Titus Andronicus, The Shakespeare Theatre.
Photos of “Intersect” are from Blackchalk Productions. Many more can be seen at http://intersectthemovie.blogspot.com. For information on the film company, go to Blackchalkproductions.com.
SCOTTSDALE COMMUNITY COLLEGE, Artists Creating Theatre
I Never Saw Another Butterfly, April 2014
Randy Messersmith (far left), Cast and Production team.
2004. Lost in Yonkers. Playwright: Neil Simon. Director: Randy Messersmith. Cast: Susan Sindelar, Maria Amorocho Weisbrod, Jacqueline Gaston, Bruce Laks, Cale Keadus Pascual, Paul Thomson.