Friday, November 18, 2011

Bill Irwin Plays King Lear's Fool

[post 213]

Never content to rest on his clown laurels, nor to just stick with well-paying movie gigs, Bill Irwin has consistently returned to the stage to star in ingenious pieces of his own creation or to take on challenging works by Beckett, Brecht, Moliere, Fo, Feydeau, and Shakespeare.

He is now at the Public Theatre, all of a block from my apartment here in New York, playing the Fool to Sam Waterston's King Lear, and your intrepid reporter is there. Oh wait, no I'm not. It's $85, the production got bad reviews, and it closes tomorrow. Three strikes and I'm out.

While the production was mostly panned, Bill's reviews were much better, especially in the New York Times:

You can read the whole Times review here.
You can read 20 — count 'em, 20 — more reviews at the Stagegrade web site.

The only video trailer for the show is here, but it's only about Waterston and it's all talking heads with no actual performance footage. More fun is this old Lear parody by Bill, one of the Clown Bagatelles that served as an afterpiece to his 1987 Regard of Flight. This is very much in the style of 19th-century talking clowns such as Dan Rice, who delighted in comic summations of Shakespearean plays.

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