Gregory G. H. Rihn (milwaukeesfs) wrote,
Gregory G. H. Rihn

National Theater Live: King Lear

We had to go and see Ian McKellen do King Lear, so caught the video replay of it at the Downer Theater on Sunday the 21st. Although the presentation runs four hours with a 20 minute interval, the time seemed to go quickly, and maintained our attention throughout.

Although excellent, I have to say I did not find it the most moving Lear I have seen. Partly, I think it may have been the modern dress, which, as I have mentioned regarding the recent APT production, does not, in my opinion work well for this show. In part, I think that it may have been a slightly lower-key production. McKellen is a marvelous actor, capable of great subtlety of expression, and the movie format with its close-ups worked well to emphasize that. It seemed that in order to play up that strength, the Lear portrayed was an angry, demented, old man who also got tired quickly--. (Actually, considering the length of the show and the fact that McKellen gets 2000 liters of water rained on him in the storm scene, he has amazing strength and stamina for his age, still being able to carry the ‘dead’ Cordelia on stage in the last scene.) Playing up fine detail seemed to result in less energy overall, although there was much in this play (possibly in part because of its uncut length) that we had not seen before.

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Tags: shakepeare, theater

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