Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Oh, What a Lear!

King Lear. Dir. Trevor Nunn. Perf. Sir Ian McKellen, Sylvester McCoy, Romola Garai, William Gaunt, Frances Barber, and Monica Dolan. BBC, 26 December 2008.
Last Fall, we were privileged beyond belief to see Ian McKellen (and the RSC—sorry not to give you top billiing, RSC . . . maybe later) in a production of King Lear directed by Trevor Nunn. I felt very honored and humbled and was grateful beyond measure that our Guthrie-Theatre-season-ticket-holdin’ friends were able to wrangle us two seats with them.

At that time, I wished that more people could witness this astonishing actor in this more-than-astonishing role. I wanted to take every student at the college to the production, in fact. But the tickets sold out almost immediately and the run was a very limited one.

Well, on Boxing Day this year, a version of that production made for television broadcast will be broadcast! And that may mean that a US release—either on television or on DVD—will follow.

It will not be the same as live theatre. I’m not sure any film version can capture the rituals, rites, and responses of attending a production with fellow audience members. But it does vastly expand the extent of the potential audience.

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Bardfilm is normally written as one word, though it can also be found under a search for "Bard Film Blog." Bardfilm is a Shakespeare blog (admittedly, one of many Shakespeare blogs), and it is dedicated to commentary on films (Shakespeare movies, The Shakespeare Movie, Shakespeare on television, Shakespeare at the cinema), plays, and other matter related to Shakespeare (allusions to Shakespeare in pop culture, quotes from Shakespeare in popular culture, quotations that come from Shakespeare, et cetera).

Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
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The very instant that I saw you did / My heart fly to your service; there resides, / To make me slave to it; and, for your sake, / Am I this patient [b]log-man.

—The Tempest