Discussion in 'Community' started by JediNemesis, Sep 14, 2006.
Love to see that production.
I can see Patrick Stewart in Shakespeare, but Kevin Kline? Not unless it's a comedy, and he's starring in King Lear(!!!!!!!!) off Broadway. What a monumental piece of miscasting.
Whoa . . .
He doesn't seem to fit the Lear bracket. OTOH, you never know. Not knowing his work, I shall give him the benefit of the doubt, though.
Lear is a darn hard play to get your head around; Kline might be a very good Edmund, were he a bit younger. But Lear . . . I fail to see that working in any way whatsoever.
They show a picture of him in EW, in makeup; he looks nowhere old enough.
I'd be interested to garner opinions on how Sir Ian McKellen will fare as King Lear. I believe the Stratford run starts in April, so we should have critical feedback reasonably soon.
Personally? It's the one major Shakespearean role he's not played (at least, I'm pretty sure he hasn't done it already) and if he does it half as well as he did Iago or Macbeth, it'll be extraordinary.
I'm seriously looking forward to this . . .
He should do very well indeed...looks the part...got the acting chops...right age.
All the omens are good, in other words.
I'll be sure to report back . . .
I think McKellan will make a great Lear; he can play dotty well enough and all he has to do is take that a step farther into straight up harmless madness and he's got it in the bag.
This is very unusual.
IM should be good. But Lear has destroyed good actors in the past - Nigel Hawthorne supposedly never recovered from the critical mauling he got for his RSC performance.
And I would have thought Hawthorne ideal. What went wrong?
I don't know, I didn't see it - I had organised a trip to it, which went ahead, but had to duck out for a job interview. It was an unusual production as it was directed by the feted Japanese director Ninagawa, but this was the first time he had worked with the RSC and with English actors, so there mught have been a bit of a culture clash. Lear is a famously difficult role. In the 19th Century, Hazlitt and Lamb were convinced that it was unperformable. In recent times, any number of actors have died in the role - one I did see was Anthony Hopkins, who stunk. But the bad reviews apparently affected Hawthorne a lot - Lear should have been a glorious end to his career, which makes it particularly sad as he was a fine actor.
interesting thread here on topic.
If you say so....
Lear is, I would argue, the most difficult of Shakespeare's characters to perform. At least with most of his others, you know where perception begins and ends. Lear is, I think, still the most difficult of his plays full stop. Whole scenes there where no one actually says anything that isn't filtered through the lens of madness.
McKellen was on Radio 4's Today program today (?) talking about Lear. The production's currently doing 'audience previews' - basically cheapie pre-press nights for the director & cast to sort out any last little niggles - and officially opens on Monday.
Couple of interesting things came up: firstly, an anecdote about somebody (Michael Gambon?) about to play Lear asking John Gielgud (who'd already done it) for advice. Gielgud's words of wisdom? "Make sure you get a small Cordelia." Apparently the scene where Lear has to carry his daughter has proved something of a difficulty for elderly actors . . .
McKellen also said that most actors can only really do three things. His own three, he claims, are "northern lad", "high camp", and "elderly gravitas". He claims to be going for the third one.
This production's actually got a hell of a cast; I only looked it up this morning, but it's certainly very strong.
Lear . . . . . . . . . . . Ian McKellen
The Fool . . . . . . . . . Sylvester McCoy (ex Doctor Who)
Gloucester . . . . . . . . William Gaunt
Kent . . . . . . . . . . . Jonathan Hyde
Cordelia . . . . . . . . . Romola Garai
Goneril . . . . . . . . . Frances Barber
I read somewhere that it's Romola Garai's first Shakespearean role. Talk about jumping in at the deep end . . .
'Tis true that Lear is a very difficult part in a very difficult play, and a lot a famous actors have come a cropper on it.
Shakespeare himself had two daughters, one of whom he appeared to be estranged from at his death.
Judith and Susanna, yes.
I was poking around the RSC website just now and came across a subsite I haven't seen before - it has galleries, audio interviews, and (best) video clips from a number of recent productions. The video sounds as though it was recorded in rehearsal or done specially in-studio rather than live; the echoes are a bit intrusive. But it's cool, nonetheless.
The page for the production of Richard III that I saw in February is here. I'd be interested to see what our transatlantic friends think, always assuming the site will work for non-UK access
The first clip was very interesting. The actor doesn't look like the historical Richard, and perhaps doesn't have enough weight (I'm talking about presence here, not fat) but he speaks the verse well. I wasn't too sure about the napkin, but I did see the point when he used it as a hangman's covering. Nasty.
The paper crown Edward wears is just a little bit obvious.
Second one tomorrow.
Meh. I don't think you can really require a likeness to the historical Richard - the character doesn't bear all that much of a resemblance to the original, either.
The paper crown was a motif they used right through the Henry VI production as well - Edmund Mortimer wears one, then little Rutland is wearing one when he gets murdered, which his murderer (Clifford) then forces Richard of York to wear. *shrug* Worked well enough.
The napkin business was a direct follow-on from the end of 3 Henry VI, where Richard of Gloucester is left holding the baby, little Edward. You got the feeling he wasn't going to be the world's best babysitter. As the lights went down on 3H6, Richard looked up and said "Now -" and everything went black.
They really went all-out for the 'unified' business - to the extent that I found myself wondering how on earth you'd understand Richard III without having seen the Henry VIs beforehand.
Awesome production, although it definitely loses a little of the magic on video. I guess it can't be as comfortable for the cast just acting to camera, rather than an audience.
I frankly wondered whether he was tucking in the napkin to eat the kid for breakfast when I first saw it.
I'm looking forward to seeing the rest, though you are undoubtedly right when you say a live audience makes a difference.
The second clip I liked better, but Richard is still miscast, and it's even more obvious in this scene. The actor still speaks the verse well (rather better than Lady Anne, who sometimes went too fast), but he's a Mosca rather than a Richard. In order to carry this scene off, he's got to have presence--nasty, steely self-confidence, magnetism; and he just doesn't. I suspect he's got great comedy technique. A damning thing to say about a dramatic performance.
Lady Anne's a bit on the quick side, yes; I seem to remember she went a bit fast when we saw it until she relaxed into the role.
I've got to disagree with you on the issue of Richard though. I still can't work out when the video was recorded - did they do it before the main run, I wonder, when things were still settling down? - but on stage, he really was nothing short of electrifying.
Good call on the comedy, though; the production definitely had more laughs than you might expect from a pretty dark play. Even Clarence's murder was funny, in a pretty sick way.
Think Gilbert-and-George-alike assassins, basically.
The third clip just repeated the first, so I began poking about on Youtube, looking for some more.
Here's: Laurance Olivier doing the 'Sun of York' soliloquy. This is from his movie version. The sets are nice, but he seems never to have heard about ye close-up and ye montage. Speaks the verse very well indeed, and though he looks absurd in medieval drag, he does have something of the necessary presence.
And here, because I'm going straight to hell, is Peter Sellers doing a parody of Sir Laurance as Richard...
Next: Sir Ian McKellen Very interesting...he's the closest yet, I think.
The Woman Woo'd Speech
The murder of Clarence