In The Revisionist, Jesse Eisenberg Takes a Page From His Family History

By Stuart Miller
24 Feb 2013

Jesse Eisenberg
Jesse Eisenberg
Photo by Sandra Coudert

Actor-playwright Jesse Eisenberg, actor-writer of Off-Broadway's The Revisionist, continues exploring his own life through the true "social network" — theatre.

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The big-name movie actor comes into the green room to promote his new venture into theatre. Instead of indulgently pontificating about the importance of the theatre he does something highly unusual — he engages in conversation.

The star in question, "The Social Network" actor Jesse Eisenberg, is known to be nervous and private. "The happiest moments for me creatively," he'll say later on, "are doing readings of a play around a table where there's no audience."

While the small talk does help put the self-effacing and fidgety Eisenberg more at ease, by the end of the interview it's obvious he's a thoughtful and engaged conversationalist.

Of course Eisenberg is also unlike those movie stars to whom theatre means Broadway star turns and Tony nominations. Eisenberg is appearing Off-Broadway, and is doing it in a play that he wrote — The Revisionist — at the Cherry Lane Theatre, and staged by Rattlestick Playwrights Theater. Starring Vanessa Redgrave, it is his second play for the company.

"He's a whiz kid who is really smart with a lot of talent," says Rattlestick founder David Van Asselt. "And he doesn't have a big ego."

Eisenberg, 29, started in kid's theatre in New Jersey and by 13 he was understudying on Broadway in Tennessee Williams' Summer and Smoke. Sure it was "nerve-wracking," he acknowledges, especially since he didn't fully understand what the show was about. However, "it was a breeze compared to sitting in a classroom with 30 kids," he says.

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