The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1693  Friday, 10 September 2004

From:           Richard Burt <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 9 Sep 2004 17:28:00 -0400
Subject:        Size Doesn't Matter in a New Production of Richard III

Size doesn't matter in a new production of Richard III at the Public Theater
The Little King
by Charles McNulty
September 7th, 2004 11:00 AM

Sitting in the lobby of the Public Theater during a rehearsal break from
Richard III, Peter Dinklage seems far too nice to play one of
Shakespeare's nastier butcher kings. Though a little fatigued from his
theatrical labors, he still exudes friendliness. Acknowledging company
members with an outsize smile, he flashes a two-fingered peace sign to
an exiting pal. Even the goatee he's sprouted for the role has a genial
effect-at least, that is, when he's holding forth on the Bard in what
appears to be his girlfriend's Vassar T-shirt. To dispose of the
obvious: Dinklage, the world's most famous dwarf actor, stands no taller
than your average fourth-grader. Once you get past that (give it about
two minutes of conversation), you can't help observing how well-adjusted
he is, how normal. By theater standards, he's off-the-charts normal. To
tell the truth, it's a little unnerving. (Celebrities typically wear
their neuroses on their sleeves.) But Dinklage's laid-back energy is
positively contagious. There's nothing awkward or self-conscious about
him, nothing defensive or sinister. He's the last person you'd cast as a
villain, yet he's clearly mastered the art of transforming himself. How
else to explain a four-foot-five guy rising so high in a profession not
known for overlooking physical differences? . . . .

[ . . . ]

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