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Well, I went and played King Lear at Theatre for a New Audience in New York this spring, and I have to boast that it was a big success. Apart from the press and public reaction, I felt that I’d done it at the right moment in my life, I was completely happy with the direction and design, I loved the American cast and I think they me. Three terrific months. It feels odd not to have played the part in the UK - English producers baulked at the cost of importing the show - so I’m now trying to set up a separate English production before I become too old.

Like Hamlet, Lear makes you disinclined to work for a bit afterwards, but on the other hand summer is festival season, and as Mary has reported, I ticked over with them; and then I pulled together various random invitations to do SWEET WILLIAM - from a theatre in Portland in Oregon, from a little theatre near Toulouse, and from the Cameri Theatre in Tel Aviv. I also took on playing Sir Anthony Blunt in a revival of Alan Bennett’s QUESTION OF ATTRIBUTION at the Rose Theatre Kingston. Not my first Bennett – I did George III for him some years ago - but my first Bennett comedy (as it partly is), and as I’d hardly got a laugh for a year or so – Strindberg, Richard II, King Lear - I jumped at it. Then I did the SWEET WILLIAM mini tour which I’m glad to say sold out everywhere, and which went particularly well in Tel Aviv at this terribly difficult time in Israel, when the struggle for peace is obviously preoccupying people of every persuasion. When I describe ROMEO AND JULIET as being not only a love story but a question: could two families (ie two halves of the world) who’ve been at war for ever, perhaps sit down and make peace because of the love of two of their young people, there was a spontaneous ovation from each audience. I’ll never forget it.

I’ve now done a very good David Rudkin play for Radio 3 called MACEDONIA that transits in early February, and so I’m rolling down to Christmas feeling well pleased by a varied and very stimulating year – and not least because I’ve just got the first advance copies of my new book LET ME PLAY THE LION TOO : HOW TO BE AN ACTOR – which Faber publish in mid January. Never mind the writing; it looks beautiful. Do have a look when it’s out.

Thanks again for your interest

December 2014

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