01/28/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Sam Mendes And Kevin Spaceys' Trans-Atlantic Theater Project

DEEP in their scone-envying souls, many Americans suspect that British actors are better than their own countrymen at performing classic plays. But are they?

The instigators, from left, Joseph V. Melillo, Sam Mendes and Kevin Spacey.

"Hogwash," said Kevin Spacey, the American actor who runs the Old Vic theater in London.

The British director Sam Mendes, who works mostly in New York, said something similar, but in salty British slang.

That sentiment and the different styles used to express it reveal a lot about the Bridge Project, a new classical repertory company created by Mr. Spacey, Mr. Mendes and Joseph V. Melillo, executive producer of the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

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