The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0961 Tuesday, 27 April 2004
Date: Monday, 26 Apr 2004 15:35:39 -0700
Subject: 15.0763 Shakespeare of Canada
Comment: Re: SHK 15.0763 Shakespeare of Canada
This is late but I have been away. I saw both productions at Stratford.
Colicos was directed by Michael Langham who told me (I was observing the
rehearsals) he had been thinking about the production since he had been
in a POW camp in WWII. The production was dogged by bad luck - Tony Van
Bridge, who played Kent, had his house burn down during the dress
rehearsal - but it was superb. A memorable design as well.
Since then I have seen the Ustinov/Robin Williams pathetic old dear,
Hutt's disaster in the 70s ( no one could move in those costumes) and
Hutt's brilliant, crystalline yet moving Lear, every inch a King, of a
few years ago, and now Plummer's. Full circle for me. I saw his Henry V
in the tent when I was 14. Plummer and Miller gave it another fresh,
timely, nuanced interpretation which I will remember for a long time.
A personal side note:
When my class asked which was my favourite play as a student and now (in
my last class of all since I retire in two months), I said immediately
"Lear." "Why?" "Because the play asked questions I was asking then and
offered no easy answers and because my understanding of it has continued
to grow for 40 years."
>In April 1964 the Stratford Shakespearean Festival of Canada (as it was
>then called) toured to England and played at Chichester, not Stratford.
>The two shows presented were *Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme* and *Love's
>Labours Lost*. John Colicos was not part of the tour, nor did the
>company present *King Lear* in England. Colicos played Lear in the
>Festival's first production of the play, which opened on 17 June 1964 at
>Stratford -- this was the second-last of the fourteen roles that he took
>at Stratford between 1961 and 1964. I saw both shows at Chichester in
>1964; it was a fine and critically acclaimed tour.
>University of Western Ontario
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