Sir Ian McKellen says King Lear is his ‘last big Shakespeare part’

5 (764 x 430)Ian McKellen has said his King Lear, which is currently on at Chichester Festival Theatre, is probably his last big Shakespeare part, reports BBC.
Interviewing him for BBC Two’s Front Row, I asked him if he would ever act in Shakespeare again. He replied: “Well, I think probably not really.” The revelation came with several caveats: if the right part were offered, he would certainly consider it; he wants to continue playing other roles on stage; and he clearly fancies a go at Mercutio, but joked that Derek Jacobi’s performance as the friend of Romeo in Romeo and Juliet made it hard to surpass.
There were times, sitting in Sir Ian’s garden in Chichester, when he seemed to be still working out the next steps in his career, while reflecting on six decades of acting. I remember seeing him and Patrick Stewart on the opening night of Waiting for Godot on Broadway, a play whose absence of plot creates the space for existential angst. So long and pregnant were the pauses before Sir Ian’s answers in our chat, that we could have called it Waiting for Sir Ian. And yet when the answers came, they were always fascinating.
He said he often found it useful to imagine Shakespeare was alive and wandering around the rehearsal, and that his advice to young actors who wanted to have a career as varied and fun as his was to always choose the part that improved them as an actor. That, he said with what seemed like genuine humility, was partly why he’d chosen this part: it would improve him as an actor.


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