NEWS – Glenda Declaims

31glenda-vid-promo-videoSixteenByNine1050-v3The kingdom of Lear he decreeded

To his daughters the land should be deeded

Except for the youngest

The only among us

Who withheld the stroking he needed.


Glenda Jackson gave a classic performance last night, a vivid oration worthy of the Booths or the Barrymores. She cared not about being natural or pedestrian. No “R” went unrolled, no arm went unlifted, no “howl” went unhowled. It was stagey, it was retro, it was a chance for Ms. Jackson to play the part the way she undoubtedly saw it done by the giants of the prosceniums of her youth. Compared to her frighteningly realistic performance in “Three Tall Women” last year, she went a different way.

So how can you complain? She worked like a beast and deserved her standing O but was it one of the great Lears? It was not. Her first act worked well enough. The rejection of Cordelia was controlled and deadly. Her storm scene was properly blazing though the production gave it short shrift by playing it in front of the curtain which robbed it of the wild caged-animal movement it’s often performed with so effectively. The second act suffered from her slightness, her inability to show the strength that made her every bit a king and forget about carrying poor dead Cordelia around.

The rest of the cast was in a different play, one that was broad and conversational and, sadly, played for laughs at unfortunate moments. It was lazy. It had no point of view.  The set was a faux marble box. The sword fights were single gunshots. Gloucester, played by a woman, was pretty good. Edmund, who, I’m told, died a harrowing death on Game of Thrones, was the most ham-handed player. The woman (I’m sorry – I don’t have my Playbill here) who played Cordelia and the Fool dared a little more, thought a little more and had her moments.

As a whole, though, the production was a mess and yet, and yet…. A three and a half hour run time, a two hour first act – how did the Cognescenting Leg do? Pretty good, I’d say.  Not a twitch until Poor Tom’s appearance in  Act 3, Scene 4, more than an hour and a half in, and nothing after the intermission which means – it’s Lear. It’s always gripping. And it’s Glenda! She’s a miracle, a marvel, doing it, obviously, exactly as she chose to do it. Whatever age she is, she still has a huge appetite for the scenery.

One Response to “NEWS – Glenda Declaims”

  1. newsornotnews Says:

    Poor Lear, buddy, I feel ya.
    The loss of your daughter Cordelia?
    I hate to rub salt.
    It was really your fault.
    Now she’s only good for necrophilia.

    Cordelia returned then you lost her
    And it also was curtains for Gloucester.
    It’s not regicide
    When your whole family’s died
    Not counting Poor Tom’s imposter.

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