25 March 2009

Howl, Howl, Howl, Howl!

I know it can be hard for many to get all excited about a tragedy by William Shakespeare on hump day, but holy heck--PBS will broadcast The Royal Shakespeare Company's version of King Lear,directed by Trevor Nunn, with Sir Ian McKellen in the title role, tonight. Starting tomorrow, you can view the film in its entirety here.

If you've not seen Lear, one of the true, universal masterpieces of literature, get ready for corruption of the first order: greed, envy, adultery, murder, madness, and a spot of eye-gouging--it's all here, and its examination of human frailty is heartbreaking.

It's on at 9:00 pm local time, and should you choose to miss The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Nancy Grace, Access Hollywood, etc. etc., Lear is well worth your time.

Also--if you "enjoy" the play (it's hard to say if it's "enjoyable," but catharsis and all that, you know?), If you haven't seen the Royal National Company's version (from 1997), directed by Richard Eyre and featuring Ian Holm as Lear, grab it from Netflix, your local public library, or Amazon. Stark, horrific,mesmerizing, Outstanding.

Anyway, McKellen has received absolutely top reviews for his interpretation of Lear, and I am looking forward to it. Catharsis and all that, you know?

Update: Ah, catharsis. Nunn's Lear was every bit as compelling as I'd hoped. McKellen's Lear touches the heart; his descent into insanity--or, perhaps, senility--strikes a note of authenticity. I was a little dubious about Tom O' Bedlam, but only a little. Kent rocked his northern accent, and Gloucester--ah, what can you say? Goneril and Regan were appropriately demonic in their lust for power and a (pretty darn attractive) Edmund.

All in all, it's a magnificent production, and, if you missed the broadcast, you can watch it online at PBS's website.

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