Most people don’t know William Shakespeare created more than 1,000 commonly used words and phrases or that he was a well-respected businessman, property owner, and actor. But for native Houstonian David Born, knowing the facts is all part of transforming into Shakespeare.
“An overall understanding of the character and his work is important so you can really present an even and correct representation of Shakespeare,” he said. “You need to know his biography, personal and professional history, the types of plays he wrote and when he wrote them, how poetry works, and the devices he employed in his personal life.”
Born, a professional stage and film actor, has played Shakespeare for the last 17 years as both a stage and character actor. A Houston Shakespeare Festival veteran, he has appeared in more than 12 of Shakespeare’s plays and more than 100 plays total. His credits also include more than 60 movies and TV shows, such as the just released The Highwaymen, Friday Night Lights Walker, Texas Ranger, Prison Break, Community, Constantine, Underground, and Texas Chainsaw 3D.
Although many people think of acting as memorizing lines, Born often improvises his material. That ability has allowed him to play more dynamic roles, including Shakespeare during Precinct 4’s Shakespeare Festival. During this year’s festival, Born will roam the festival grounds in full Shakespearian attire, interacting with the public directly.
“You need the ability to be a speaker, a one-man monologue or show,” he said. “To respond to what has been asked. To create from what is around you. To follow your impulse and not be afraid.”
Despite the challenge, Born said introducing a new generation to Shakespeare adds meaning to the role.
“Sharing the arts and this great man’s work with children and adults is a major part of playing Shakespeare,” he said. “I want to engage them and let them know that Shakespeare wasn’t that different from us.”
Shakespeare fans can catch Born in action during Precinct 4’s Shakespeare Festival on Saturday, April 13, 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Burroughs Park. Attendees will be able to enjoy crafts, entertainers, face painting, games, and food trucks. Performances of Shakespeare’s Two Gentlemen of Verona take place rain or shine Friday, April 12, at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, April 13, at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, April 14, at 2 p.m.
Costumes are encouraged. Theater-style seating will be available under the covered pavilion at Burroughs Park on a first-come, first-served basis. Everyone is invited to bring their own refreshments or purchase items from the food trucks during the festival.
Established in 2013, Precinct 4’s Shakespeare in the Shade presentations are part of Commissioner R. Jack Cagle’s educational and recreational commitment to Harris County residents. Burroughs Park is located at located at 9738 Hufsmith Road in Tomball, 77375.