Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Acting Shakespeare

I'm studying Hamlet with my senior English Lit. class right now. I somehow got to talking with them about my own experience with Shakespeare and I ended up telling them about the time, some 20 years ago, that I went to see Ian McKellen in his one-man show called Acting Shakespeare. It was a phenomenal 2+ hours of him riffing on everything Shakespeare. It was so good, in fact, that I went back the next night to see it all over with a group of my "Arts and Ideas" students.

The cool thing about his show was that towards the end he invited people to come on stage and act out a scene from Henry V with him. What a delight and privilege it was for me to do that! He was such a gentleman, helping the women up the steps to the stage, kissing their hands as we went. He got us into a huddle and coached us on acting out the end of the famous Battle at Agincourt. He was a gracious and charming man, and very accommodating. He even let one of my students go back stage and interview him after the performance.

My story to the kids this morning, though, was that I acted on the Boston stage (Charles Playhouse) with Ian McKellen, not the Shakespearean actor, but Gandolf of Lord of the Rings. They thought that was the coolest thing.

Well, it was, to be honest. Very cool =)

(I later discovered that I had seen him in A Winter's Tale at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford, England back in 1976 when he was at the beginning of his acting career.)

Photos from the "Official" Ian McKellen website


Heidi said...

Did I know this? I sure don't remember it. You're right, it's a very cool fact!

La Tea Dah said...

Very cool indeed! I shared your post today with my son who was also duly impressed! What a fantastic opportunity.

:) LaTeaDah

Rondi said...

Happily, I have a video of a televised version of the live show, so I can continue to share the information with my students. Heidi, you saw that, I think, although it was before Lord of the Rings was a big deal so it might not have made the impression it makes now =)

sunny said...

Very extremely cool. What a fun thing to do and great experience. Wonderful memories. I'm jealous.