Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 394. Friday, 25 June 1993.
From: Mary Jane Miller <
Date: Thursday, 24 Jun 93 20:35:26 -0400
Subject: COLICOS AND LEAR 1963
COLICOS AND LEAR 1963
Nathan Cohen , the acerbic critic of the Toronto Star called the 1963
Stratford production of King Lear one of the best he had seen there.
Director Michael Langham allowed me to watch rehearsals over a six week
period. Green almost - M.A. that I was, I had no idea what a rare
privilege I was given. In fact, as the only body in the theatre without a
function, I recorded his notes as he watched the 'tech dress'. CAST:
Regan- Diana Maddox; Goneril- Fran Hyland; Cordelia- Martha Henry;
Cornwall; Leo Ciceri; Albany- William Needles; Kent- Tony Van Bridge;
Gloucester- Mervyn Blake; Fool - Eric House.
Two things worth sharing: (1) Langham to Gon. Reg. Corn. and Alb. in an early
rehearsal: "No no no. You are playing it backward. You aren't monsters yet.
You don't know it's the greatest storm since the deluge. He's just been
impossible again and it's raining." (2) During the rehearsals that I saw,
the actors never once got through the blinding of Gloucester. They'd dry or
make a wrong move or break up -- anything to avoid having to endure that
scene from beginning to end. There is, as we all know, nowhere to hide on
a thrust stage. Part of it was Ciceri's anxiety about bringing his spurred
heel down on Blake without hurting him. But I think the major problem was
the emotional power of the scene and the sense of complicity that deveoped
among those on and off the stage as the scene developed. I've seen many
Lears in the 30 years since, but Colicos' voice is the one I still hear when
I teach the play. The recent CBC radio production [I only heard the last
act] proved to me that Colicos has not forgotten it either.
Mary Jane Miller,
Dept. of Film Studies, Dramatic and Visual Arts,
St. Catharines, Ontario,
Canada, L2S 3A1.