A confederacy of misfits, a wise man, and the Bard illuminate everything for the actor-director.
My mother taught me to read at a young age. She was a cabdriver who left the house at 6 in the morning. She didn't like the public school system and didn't want me to go to school at first. I spent a tremendous amount of time by myself, looking out of our apartment window four stories up at people on the street. Coming from such a strange and wonderful background, I think I felt a little bit disconnected. The constant thought for me was, How do I fit in?
Books were a way of immersing myself in the world of an author. Because a writer gives a reader ownership of his story, you are allowed to feel as if you belong to something. I love the authors who share the knowledge that we're all in the same boat, especially when they do it with humor. They can, through a character or a scene, show you how absurd your own neuroses are. It becomes clear that while other people may look as if they're all going along well, they're likely to be just as neurotic as you are. That's very comforting.
I think that's also what theater is about—creating a sense of community on a night in a dark room where people feel that for those two hours they belong, that they are connected to something.
Liev Schreiber wrote the screenplay for and directed Everything Is Illuminated . He appeared in Glengarry Glen Ross on Broadway.
What's on Liev Schreiber's Bookshelf? Read more!
From the August 2005 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
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