Friday 12 September 2014

Sinden, Lear

Dear old Donald Sinden, the fruity-voiced ultimate thespian, has died, just short of his 91st birthday. In his time, Sinden did the lot - stage, films, telly, talk shows, comedy, tragedy, Shakespeare... including, of course, Lear. When someone asked him about the problems of playing Lear, he replied, 'Well, it's a very long time till the first laugh.'
 Sinden probably had enough sense to realise that Lear is just too big for any mortal actor - though they all feel obliged to tackle it, these days in early middle age. Best not get too pompous about it. I remember Michael Gambon once assuring an interviewer that playing Lear was 'a piece of cake'. All you have to do, he confided, is 'stay down stage, shout, wave you arms a bit - and never take your eyes off the bloody Fool.' Wise words.

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