Ian McKellen Stage
Edgar (Ian McKellen) and Gloucester (Ronald Radd)
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KING LEAR (1974)
Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by David William
Ian McKellen in the role of Edgar
Brooklyn Academy of Music, Wimbledon Theatre, UK Tour
2 February 1974 - 2 June 1974
NY Drama Desk Award for WOOD DEMON & KING LEAR
Words from Ian McKellen
Robert Eddison was a magnificently arrogant and pathetic old king, Edward Petherbridge a definitive Fool. I was Edgar, another Shakespearean who goes on an heroic journey to maturity and self-awareness. In preparing my disguise as Mad Tom, I flung off all my clothes and stood briefly onstage as the bare fork'd man. This was a simple image to counterpoint the impenetrable obscurity of Edgar's language - and didn't often get a snigger. Otherwise, nothing remarkable; although we went to USA." — From the programme for ACTING SHAKESPEARE
Comments and Reviews
in repertory with THE WOOD DEMON, WAY OF THE WORLD, KNOTS at Brooklyn Academy of Music, 2-24 February 1974

in repertory with THE WOOD DEMON, 'TIS PITY SHE'S A WHORE, THE WAY OF THE WORLD, RULING THE ROOST
19-23 March; 29 April - 4 May 1974: Wimbledon Theatre, London

UK Tour:
Newcastle, Theatre Royal:
20 May
New Theatre, Oxford:
27 May
Theatre Royal, Norwich:
2 June

"The players gave a brilliant presentation of one of the world's greatest tragedies. -- Richard Watts

"Ian McKellen is an inexpressive Edgar until he busts upon the stage as Tom. Here is a creature brilliantly created by the avenging Edgar, a tousle-haired wood demon who has not stopped at anything to muster his effect: on leaving the court, Mr McKellen ceremoniously removes his clothes, improvising a loin-cloth and following with alarming accuracy the precedent of those Bedlam beggars. His left arm is bloodily savaged by a huge thorn, his movements studiously contorted, his mouth agape and his body grimed with mud and gore. This throbbing image of distraction and anquish is the strongest visual element in the production." -- Michael Coveney