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Home :: Archive :: 2009 :: April ::
50 Best American Plays
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0161  Monday, 6 April 2009

From:       Joseph Egert <
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Date:       Saturday, 4 Apr 2009 11:47:01 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 20.0155 50 Best American Plays
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0155 50 Best American Plays

On the Nunn/ McKellen LEAR, I wrote in part:

 >The mismatched class accents grated on the ear, and Garai's
 >pedestrian Cordelia underwhelmed.[...] In McKellen's post-play
 >commentary, I was struck by his limited interpretation of Lear's
 >character, clearly a product of his ruling class breeding. [ . . . ]

To which Brian Willis objected:

 >And quickly, to correct Joe Egert, Ian McKellen is not a product of
 >"ruling class breeding". Ruling class training, perhaps, but he
 >derives from a strictly working-class Lancashire background and was 
forced to
 >subdue the accent attendant on that familial descendancy when he attended
 >Cambridge.

Mr Willis did not infer what I intended.

The "limited interpretation" referred to McKellen's post-play analysis, 
not his performance. For scene-chewing, Ian McKellen may be the best fit 
for the histrionic Lear role among today's actors. The "ruling class 
breeding" applied of course to Lear and not to his impersonator. As for 
"mismatched class accents", I was thinking more of Garai's Cordelia 
among others, rather than McKellen.

Sorry for the unwieldy wording,
Joe Egert

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