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Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: November ::
Re: RIP Robert Stephens
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 899. Wednesday, 15
November 1995.

(1)     From:   Kate Mazzetti <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 14 Nov 95 11:26:00 PST
        Subj:   RE: SHK 6.0896  RIP Robert Stephens

(2)     From:   Tad Davis <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 14 Nov 1995 11:26:09 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0896  RIP Robert Stephens

(3)     From:   John Owen <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 14 Nov 95 10:46:01 -0700
        Subj:   RE: SHK 6.0896  RIP Robert Stephens


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kate Mazzetti <
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Date            Tuesday, 14 Nov 95 11:2 6:00T
Subject: 6.0896  RIP Robert Stephens
Comment:        RE: SHK 6.0896  RIP Robert Stephens

I regret that I did not hear about Robert Stephens' death before
............... What was the cause? Can anyone give me more info? I was
a student at The Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1993
and had the privledge of meeting him and seeing his very inspirational
Lear......

Kate Mazzetti

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(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tad Davis <
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Date:           Tuesday, 14 Nov 1995 11:26:09 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 6.0896  RIP Robert Stephens
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0896  RIP Robert Stephens

Christine Mack Gordon writes:

> "Banish plump Jack, and banish all the world." RIP Robert Stephens.

This is sad news. I never saw him on stage, but his roles in other media
made a lasting impression:  Pistol in Branagh's "Henry V," Sherlock
Holmes in "The Private Life of,"  and even the voice of Aragorn, son of
Arathorn, in the BBC production of "Lord of the Rings." He was also, if
I remember correctly, the Duke in the Zefferelli film of "Romeo and
Juliet" -- a performance infused with passion and bite, in a role that
is too often a perfunctory gloss.

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Owen <
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Date:           Tuesday, 14 Nov 95 10:46:01 -0700
Subject: 6.0896  RIP Robert Stephens
Comment:        RE: SHK 6.0896  RIP Robert Stephens

I notice Sir Robert's passing with particular sadness.  As a boy, my
primary access to Shakespeare in performance was through recordings,
borrowed from whatever library I could reach.  Hence, Sir Robert's many
recordings made him the first model I encountered of many roles.  Though
we see him hovering about the fringes of movies like Cleopatra, A Taste
of Honey, etc. (what an odd film career he had!), it is on these old
records that his talents were most diligently preserved:

A superb Benedick in Much Ado, with his trademark mixture of
vulnerability and jollity at maximum value. (RCA Victor)
A very bitter and intense Claudio in the same play (Caedmon)
Your standard, unsatisfying Edgar in King Lear (has anyone ever done
this part well?) (Caedmon)
Whining and petulant as Roderigo in Othello (Caedmon)
And a predictable Parolles in All's Well (Caedmon)

A strange legacy for The Royal Hunt of Sun's show-stopping Atahualpa to
leave.  But there is also a Richard III (Caedmon again), so repulsive in
its croaking, tortued rant that it achieves the improbable feat of being
charmlessly magnetic.  A  misfired Pistol for Branagh (does anyone
really care about the sensitive side of Falstaff's ensign?) but well
performed within the limits of the miscalculation.  The last recording I
have is the sneering, brutal Cornwall in Gielgud's Lear.

I wish his Falstaff were available in its entirety -- it must have been
excellent.  Has anyone seen?

John Owen
 

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