Film ID:
NEFA 21823



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A Tyne Tees Television news magazine report transmitted 19 November 1968 on a new production of William Shakespeare’s Richard II taking place at the Theatre Royal in Newcastle by the Prospect Theatre Company with an interview with the lead actor Ian McKellen.

The report begins on stage at the Theatre Royal in Newcastle with a scene from a new production of Richard II featuring Ian McKellen in the lead role.

McKellen is interviewed on stage. The reporter ask him about the different approach he has taken in playing Richard II by giving him ‘a great deal of virility’. Ian replies that his aim was to make the play relevant to a 20th century audience. He looked for a 20th century counterpart to this ‘curious medieval king’ and found it in the Dalai Lama of Tibet.

Ian is then asked how this thinking has affected his performance. He replies by saying that rather than concentrating on the beautiful words, he has gone for something that would be immediately recognisable by modern audiences. During the play, Richard loses his throne as well as his divinity and he has a nervous breakdown and a heart attack on stage. The play ends with him losing his sanity as he grapples with the idea that he is not a king or god but a man.