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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: October ::
Re: Lear on PBS
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0993  Wednesday, 14 October 1998.

[1]     From:   Rick Jones <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 13 Oct 1998 08:59:07 -0500 (CDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0988  Lear on PBS

[2]     From:   Gerda Grice <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 13 Oct 1998 12:35:28 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0988 Lear on PBS

[3]     From:   Hilary Thimmesh <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 13 Oct 1998 11:56:22 -0500
        Subj:   PBS Lear


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Rick Jones <
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Date:           Tuesday, 13 Oct 1998 08:59:07 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: 9.0988  Lear on PBS
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0988  Lear on PBS

Thomas Connolly and I obviously live in different places.  He summarizes
the PBS Lear as follows:

> On the whole, a decent production but wildly over-hyped by PBS.

I haven't actually seen the show yet-I watched Crime & Punishment and
taped Lear-but I must disagree with the assertion that Lear was
"over-hyped."  I'm a reasonably regular PBS viewer, a member of one of
my local stations, and I barely knew Lear was coming on at all.  The
airwaves around here were hardly saturated with talk of the imminence of
the program.  If Mr. Connolly means only that PBS wanted people to think
it was a good production, well... I, personally, have been able to
survive without seeing "must-see TV," and I doubt PBS's ratings would be
inflated by a more honest approach: "watch King Lear-a decent production
of a 400-year-old play, starring someone you've heard of but can't
place, and a couple of co-stars you'll recognize but whose names you
don't know."

Rick Jones

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[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gerda Grice <
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Date:           Tuesday, 13 Oct 1998 12:35:28 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 9.0988 Lear on PBS
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0988 Lear on PBS

> Bruited as "the Lear of the century", last night's television production
> was at best adequate.  I found Ian Holm's performance quite limited.
> Not as dull as Michael Hordern's but with nothing of Scofield's
> complexity.  Even Olivier's exhausted effort had more in it.
>
> Holm registered two emotions: petulance and rage.  I would appreciate
> hearing from people who saw the stage production.  Holm's redaing
> reminded me of Hal Holbrook's.

I saw the stage production in London and felt, as you felt about the TV
version of it, that it had been wildly over-praised, and that Holm's
performance was underwhelming.  I didn't see the TV production (one go
of Holm's Lear was enough for me) so I don't know if Holm did the "full
Monty" in that, too.  On stage, it had struck me as totally gratuitous.
Also, I found the Cordelia in the RNT production to be the most
unsympathetic Cordelia possible. I could well understand why Goneril and
Regan would hate her.

Incidentally, I normally like Holm as an actor.

Gerda Grice
Ryerson Polytechnic University
Toronto, Canada

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hilary Thimmesh <
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Date:           Tuesday, 13 Oct 1998 11:56:22 -0500
Subject:        PBS Lear

There was quite a lot of out-Heroding Herod in the TV version of Ian
Holm's Lear last Sunday evening, but I found Goneril's momentarily
anguished reaction to her father's mad curse convincing.  At that point
in the action she is not a wholly unsympathetic character.  Other than
Iago and Macbeth's Witches, is there anyone in the tragedies who is
without redeeming qualities?  Lear gains in interest if the three
daughters are all in some sense his victims, however diverse the course
they separately take to depravity or martyrdom.
 

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