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Still going boldly

William Shatner brings his take on life, ‘Star Trek’ and everything to the stage

William Shatner stars in “Shatner’s World: We Just Live in It,” which lands at INB Performing Arts Center on Thursday night. (Joan Marcus)
William Shatner stars in “Shatner’s World: We Just Live in It,” which lands at INB Performing Arts Center on Thursday night. (Joan Marcus)

William Shatner is quick to crack wise.

The legendary actor, who captained the USS Enterprise into pop culture icon status, showed his comedy chops in shows such as “Third Rock From the Sun,” with an occasional role as the Big Giant Head, and “Boston Legal,” for which he won two Emmy Awards as the lawyer Denny Crane.

He’s one of the kings of Twitter, where he cracks jokes in 140 characters or less for his 2 million followers. Now he’s bringing his 2012 Broadway one-man show, “Shatner’s World,” to Spokane’s INB Performing Arts Center, as part of West Coast Entertainment’s Best of Broadway series. In this Q&A (which has been edited for space) we talk about his show and not slowing down at age 83.

Q: You were here just a few weeks ago (for the PacCon comic/sci-fi convention). Was that your first time here?

A: Indeed it was. I think that city is a wonderful place. I think the people are friendly and they like good things. And that’s why I’m coming back. (He laughs.) That was pretty good. …

A couple of interesting things, I guess. I haven’t done that show in quite awhile. I’m flying in from Halifax where I’m shooting a movie, so I’m depending on connecting flights through Toronto and Seattle to Spokane, so I’m coming a long ways to do this highly acclaimed Broadway show, and I’m only doing a half-dozen shows this year, and one of those is in Spokane. We’re going to laugh and cry together.

Q: I know you’ve been doing the show for a couple years, and it was on Broadway in 2012. Has it changed or evolved much?

A: I have a lot of visuals, visuals that are tied to specific word cues. So that ties me to that. Having said that, certainly a lot of words are changed, stories made more efficient and funnier, more succinct. I’ve evolved the way of playing it in a way I think is better, more real.

Q: What inspired the show?

A: I was asked to do it in Australia. And it’s probably one of the supreme challenges in show business to do a one-man show in front of an audience for an hour and half and keep them from walking out or yawning. And so I imagine a lot of actors contemplate doing it, but it takes a lot of courage. But in doing a number of “Star Trek” conventions, and speaking like I did when I was last in Spokane for an hour in front of people and trying to entertain and amuse them and inform them, I developed the courage that facing an audience for a couple hours might not be deadly. Then I thought, “Well, hell. If it’s in Australia and I die, who’s going to know?” But it was successful. … It’s exciting to me to see what’s going to happen in front of the Spokane audience. I do know it will always be entertaining. I talk about music and I talk about comedy and I talk about death, and I talk about love and I talk about “Star Trek” and I talk about a variety of subjects – horses, motorcycles.

Q: When you did the show on Broadway, it had been 40 or 50 years since you’d done theater on Broadway. What was it like to be back?

A: I’d been asked to come back many times, but I didn’t want to devote the time. That’s three or four months gone from home, and I didn’t want to do that. So over the years I began to think, “I guess I will never go back to Broadway.” And then this thing, this lightning storm hit whereby I marched onto Broadway … and played a month or so. Then it opened in the very theater that I’d played last, in “A Shot in the Dark.” In the same theater. It was amazing. To me it was astonishing.

Q: Getting back to what you said about courage. Acting is a fairly collaborative art form. Do you enjoy the experience of being up on that stage by yourself?

A: Yes, I’m enjoying it. The things I do on stage are so meaningful to me, they lodge in my heart, that to perform them makes me feel good. … The stories have a point that bring me to the next point. It’s the work of a career doing a one-man show.

Q: I know you have this new reality show you’re doing on the DIY network (“The William Shatner Project”) …

A: Thursdays at 10 o’clock.

Q: … You’re doing this one-man show, and you’re turning 84 next year. Have you ever thought about slowing down?

A: I don’t need to think about it. (He laughs.) I’m not sprinting the 100 the way I used to. No, I wouldn’t know what to do. You’d find me calling you saying “Wouldn’t you like to interview me?” I’m just having the best time. I’m helping design a motorcycle. I got to design a watch. I’ve got an interview show called “Brown Bag Wine Tasting” on the Web (www.ora.tv). I’m doing a comic book, a cinematic novel we’re calling it. I had a meeting with a company and we’re going to make cartoons for the tweens. I’m selling two television shows and I’ve made three movies. It’s there to be done.

Q: I’ve heard you’re in talks to be in the next “Star Trek” reboot with J.J. Abrams. Is that true, or is it something you can talk about?

A: I have nothing I can say about it. I was asked if I was interested. I said I was interested and that was the last thing I heard about it.

Q: You just rattled off this list of things that you’re doing. Is there anything you haven’t done that you wished you’d tried?

A: Sleep, actually. (He laughs.)

Q: Not going to climb Mount Everest anytime soon?

A: No. Over 14,000 feet, I’m nothing.

Q: Have you ever thought about what you would be doing if you’d not gone into acting?

A: Pushing up grass.

Q: Acting keeps you young?

A: I think so. You have to remember lines, you have to talk to reporters, you have to make up stories. I’m probably more creative now than I have ever been.

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