Sir Ian’s Willie

Culturebot went to see Sir Ian’s Willie, er, I mean, William Shakespeare’s King Lear starring Ian McKellen at BAM last night.

It was Theatre with a capital T!! Lots of bluff and bluster and British-y accents. Beautiful set, great sound design. It was everything one would expect from the RSC and as such was a fun night in the theater. The show is well-paced and moves along briskly, most of the ensemble turn in solid performances and the plot -convoluted as it is – is relatively easy to follow. It is still exciting to watch nobility go bad, to follow all the intrigues and plotting and counter-plotting and deception.

It is not a particularly innovative production – I can’t say that they opened up the text in any way or were too inventive in the staging. It was by-the-book Classical Theater for Patrons of the Arts. Which is still pretty darn cool.
The show inspired a lot of thought – that Shakespeare, well, he packs a lot in there to think on. I was meditating about aging, about the timelessness of the story and the neverending human fascination with social manipulation and maneuvering. Let’s face it, theater is like gossip except in fancier clothes and usually better-written. It is voyeurism of the best kind. Its like, deep voyeurism.

I was also thinking about the Elizabethan World Order, the sense of hierarchy and place that is so much a part of Shakespeare’s work. And somehow sitting in BAM watching the RSC I started to think that, in some ways, not much has changed. The names of the nobility change – we don’t have that many kings anymore, obviously – but us commoners still love to revel in the misdeeds of the wealthy and powerful. And we still suffer at their folly – like, war, and stuff.

Anyway – it was a great experience, it reminded me of back when that kind of theater was really the only thing I knew, it was the benchmark of artistic achievement, and it is always fun to see BIG THEATER for GROWN-UPS.

Due to the beneficence of our secret agent in the BAM, we get to go to again tonight to see The Seagull – with Sir Ian as Sorin!

Yes but… will he drop trou?

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