Title: Great Actors
            From: Album "Matching Tie and Handkerchief"
  Transcribed By: Davina Tung 
       Edited By: Adam Fogg 


*Now it's time for Great Actors, introduced as usual by Alan Semen.*

Alan: Sir Edwin, which has been for you the most demanding of the great 
      Shakesperean tragic heroes that you've played?

Sir Edwin: Well, of course this is always a difficult one, but I think the
           answer must be Hamlet.

Alan: Which you played at Stratford in 1963.

Sir Edwin: That's right, yes,  I found the role a very taxing one.  I mean,
           er, Hamlet has eight thousand two hundred and sixty-two words, you
           see.

Alan: Really.

Sir Edwin: Oh yes.  Othello's a bugger too, mind you--especially the cleaning
           up afterwards, but he has nine hundred and forty-one words less
           than Hamlet.  On the other hand, the coon's got more pauses,
           sixty-two quite long ones, as I recall.  But then they're not so
           tricky, you see--you don't have to do so much during them.

Alan: You don't.

Sir Edwin: No.  No, not really.  Andd they give you time to think what sort of
           face you're going to pull during the next speech so that it fits
           the words you're saying as far as possible.

Alan: How many words did you have to say as King Lear at the Aldwitch in '52?

Sir Edwin: Ah, well, I don't want you to get the impression it's just a
           question of the number of words... um... I mean, getting them in
           the right order is just as important.  Old Peter Hall used to say
           to me, "They're all there already-- now we've got to get them in
           the right order."  And, er, for example, you can also say one word
           louder than another--er, "To *be* or not to be," or "To be *or* not
           to be," or "To be or not to *be*"--you see?  And so on.

Alan: Inflection.

Sir Edwin: And of course inflection.  In fact, Lear has only seven thousand
           and fifty- four words, but the real difficulty with Lear is that
           you've got to play him all--you know, shaky legs and pratfalls and
           the dentures falling out, 'cause he's ancient as hell, and then
           there's that heartrending scene when he goes right off his nut--
           you know, "bliddle dee dee diddle deebibble dee dee dibble beep
           beep beep," and all that, which takes it out of you, what with
           having the crown to keep on.  So Lear is tiring, although not
           difficult to act, because you've only got to do despair and a bit
           of anger, and they're the easiest.

Alan: Are they?  What are the hardest?

Sir Edwin: Oh... um, fear.

Alan: Fear?

Sir Edwin: Mmm, yes, never been able to get that--can't do the mouth.  I look
           all cross--it's a very fine line.

Alan: What else?

Sir Edwin: Apart from fear?  Er, jealousy can be tricky... but for me, the
           most difficult is being in love--you know, that openmouthed,
           vacant look that Vanessa Redgrave's got off to a tee.  Can't do
           that at all.  And also I'm frightfully awkward when I try that
           happy prancing, you know.  Which is a shame, really, because
           otherwise Romeo's quite good for me--only three thousand and eight
           and quite a lote of climbing and kissing.

Alan: Sir Edwin--get stuffed.

Sir Edwin: I've enjoyed it.

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