GLENDA JACKSON – “KING LEAR”

May 08, 2019 at 5:00 am

Legendary British actress Glenda Jackson is currently starring in “King Lear” on Broadway. Join us for an intimate conversation with the Academy and Tony Award-winning former member of the British Parliament.

Aired May 7, 2019.

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>>> THEY KILL US FOR THEIR
SPORT.
THAT ONE LINE SPOKEN IN
SHAKESPEARE'S KING LEAR PERHAPS
BEST SUMMARIZED AS THEY WATCH
THIS GREAT TRAGEDY UNFOLD.
THERE'S A NEW PRODUCTION OF LEAR
NOW PLAYING AT THE COURT THEATER
AND ACCORDING TO "THE WALL
STREET JOURNAL," PARTS OF IT
WILL, QUOTE, SEAR THEMSELVES
INTO YOUR MEMORY LIKE MENTAL
PICTURES OF AN UNIMAGINABLE
DISASTER.
GLENDA JACKSON IN KING LEAR.
SHE JOINS US NOW.
MISS JACKSON, WELCOME BACK TO
THE PROGRAM.
>> NICE TO BE HERE.
>> WHEN I STUDIED LEAR IN
COLLEGE, I KNEW THAT THE EXPERTS
CONSIDERED IT, OR MOST EXPERTS
CONSIDERED IT SHAKESPEARE'S
GREATEST TRAGEDY IF NOT GREATEST
PLAY BUT I DIDN'T LIKE IT.
WHAT I SAW WAS THIS CHILDISH
DESPOT WHO CLEARLY WAS NEVER
CONTRADICTED IN HIS OWN LIFE AND
WHOSE OWN FOOLISH DECISIONS AND
ACTIONS LED TO HIS TRAGIC
UNDOING AND THE UNDOING OF THE
ONE PERSON PERHAPS THAT HE LOVED
MOST IN THE WORLD.
SO I SAID, YOU KNOW, KARMA.
40 YEARS LATER, I AGREE WITH THE
EXPERTS BECAUSE WHAT I SEE NOW
IS LEAR, LIKE ALL OF US, NOT
SEEING THE CONSEQUENCES OF HIS
ACTIONS UNTIL IT'S TOO LATE TO
AVOID SUFFERING AND DISASTERS
AND THAT'S ALWAYS BEEN THE CASE
AND ALWAYS WILL BE THE CASE.
AND IT'S A SERIOUS TRUTH TO
CONFRONT, IF YOU'VE BEEN AROUND
FOR A FEW YEARS AND MADE A FEW
TERRIBLE DECISIONS AND ENDURED
CONSEQUENCES.
I WONDER IF YOUR VIEW OF LEAR
EVOLVED OVER THE YEARS.
>> AN UNDENIABLE PART OF THE
GENIUS OF SHAKESPEARE IS THAT HE
REALLY ONLY EVER ASKS THREE
QUESTIONS.
WHO ARE WE, WHY ARE WE, WHAT ARE
WE?
AND THEN NO ONE HAS TRULY COME
UP WITH THE COMPREHENSIVE
ANSWERS YET BUT THE THING IS
HUMAN NATURE IS IMMUTABLE.
THE CONTEMPORARY TROUPES IN THIS
PLAY REFLECTED AS WE LIVE OUR
LIVES NOW ARE JUST STAGGERING,
ACTUALLY, AND WE DON'T CHANGE.
HOPEFULLY WE CAN WITH KNOWLEDGE
AND REASON TO MISQUOTE, MAKE THE
HUMAN CONDITION BETTER THAN IT
IS FOR ALL HUMAN BEINGS.
BUT OUR OWN INDIVIDUAL HUMAN
NATURES DON'T CHANGE, IN THAT,
YOU THINK OVER TIME THAT WE
LEARN.
WHO WAS IT, THE MADNESS IS
MAKING THE SAME MISTAKE TIME
AFTER TIME, EXPECTING A BETTER
RESULT AND ALWAYS GETTING THE
SAME RESULT.
AGAIN, I'M MISQUOTING, BUT
THAT'S WHAT WE DO AND WHAT HE
DOES, AND HE'S NOT A BAD MAN,
HE'S NOT A VICIOUS MAN.
IT'S JUST THAT, AS YOU QUITE
RIGHTLY SAID, HE'S BEEN RAISED
HIS WHOLE LIFE, NO ONE EVER SAID
NO TO HIM.
BUT THAT'S A REFLECTION OF THE
WORLD THAT HE INHABITS AND WE
ALL INHABIT WORLDS THAT HAVE
THEIR OWN IMMUTABLE STRUCTURES,
DON'T WE, AND IT DOES, ONE OF
THE REALLY INTERESTING THINGS
FOR ME WHEN I WAS STILL A MEMBER
OF PARLIAMENT, WHICH I USED WHEN
SOMEBODY SAID YOU SHOULD DO THIS
PLAY, AS WE GET OLDER, THE KIND
OF GENDER BARRIERS THAT ARE SO
ABSOLUTE FOR US BEGIN TO FRAY,
FRACTURE, BEGIN TO BE FOGGY.
I THOUGHT, YEAH, YOU KNOW, WE
TEACH BABIES HOW TO BE BOYS AND
GIRLS AND THEN LIVING LONGER AND
LONGER.
ALL THESE THINGS BEGIN TO BE,
NOT DIRECTLY QUESTIONABLE.
IT MAY BE PHYSICAL CHANGES AS
MUCH AS ANYTHING BUT REALLY
FASCINATING NOW.
>> SPEAKING OF THAT, LAST TIME
YOU WERE HERE, WE SPOKE ABOUT,
OR YOU TOLD US, THAT YOU DIDN'T
THINK THERE WERE ANY MORE
SERIOUS ROLES THAN WHEN YOU
BEGAN BUT IN THIS PLAY, YOU PLAY
LEAR AND THE WONDERFUL SHAI
PLAYS GLOUCESTER AND ELIZABETH
PLAYED MARK ANTHONY AND JULIUS
CAESAR.
IS THIS THE WAY TO COMPENSATE
FOR THE LACK OF ROLES
INCREASINGLY?
>> CERTAINLY IN MY COUNTRY, WE
HAD VERY OVERT KIND OF GENDER
BENDER MOVEMENT.
THIS COMPANY FORMED FOR ALL
WOMEN AND THEY STARTED OUT BY
DOING ALL SHAKESPEARE HISTORY
PLAYS.
IMAGINE THAT, YOU KNOW, AND THEY
WERE HUGELY SUCCESSFUL.
AND IN ONE SENSE, I THINK THAT
GENDER BENDER BATTLE HAS BEEN
WON IN A SENSE.
IT'S JUST EXPANDING IT THROUGH.
I MEAN, YEAH, LET'S HAVE A LOOK
AT ALL OF THE SHAKESPEAREAN
PLAYS, YOU KNOW, AND GREAT PARTS
IN THERE.
THE FACT THAT NO WOMAN EVER
STEPPED ON TO A STAGE IN
SHAKESPEARE'S TIMES TOO WITH
THESE ROLES, WE CAN GRACEFULLY
SLIDE OVER THAT BUT YES, IT
WOULD BE INTERESTING BECAUSE THE
PLAYS THEMSELVES ARE SO
FUNDAMENTALLY FASCINATING.
>> MISS JACKSON, READING ABOUT
YOU FOR THIS INTERVIEW AND THE
ONE WE DID LAST TIME, ONE THING
WAS MADE VERY CLEAR TO ME.
YOU HAVE A FIERCE WORK ETHIC.
AND THAT, FOR YOU, WHAT YOU DO
WITH THE TOUGH JOB IS JUST DO
IT.
>> ABSOLUTELY.
>> BUT THIS IS A TOUGH JOB.
PERFORMING LEAR, EVEN A NAVY
SEAL WOULD HAVE TROUBLE.
>> OH, COME ON.
EIGHT PERFORMANCES A WEEK?
HOW DO YOU FIND THE ENERGY?
>> THE ENERGY IS IN THE PLAY.
ONCE WE TAP INTO IT, IF WE TAP
INTO IT, THAT ENERGY TAKES YOU
FORWARD, LIKE A JET PLANE OR A
REALLY FAST CAR.
AND WE HAVE A VERY GOOD CAST.
THAT SHARED ENERGY IS THERE FOR
ALL OF US AND IT'S TERRIFIC.
>> BY THE WAY, HOW DO YOU FIND
THE AUDIENCES RESPONDING TO THIS
PRODUCTION?
HOW DO THEY COMPARE TO BRITISH
AUDIENCES?
>> IT'S HARD TO MAKE A
COMPARISON WITH THIS PARTICULAR
PLAY BUT THE FIRST PLAY I EVER
DID IN NEW YORK, I WAS WITH THE
ROYAL SHAKESPEARE COMPANY AND WE
BROUGHT A PLAY, A BROADWAY, AND
WE PLAYED THAT IN REPERTOIRE IN
LONDON, TWO TOTALLY SILENT
AUDIENCES.
NOT A SOUND UNTIL THE END OF THE
PLAY WHEN THEY -- THERE WAS
MUSIC IN THE PLAY AND SO WE
WOULD GO ON TO THE STAGE AND THE
FIRST SONG, ENCORE.
APPLAUSE.
WE GOT LAUGHS.
CONSTANT RESPONSE TO WHAT WE
WERE DOING.
WE CAME UP, LOOKING AT EACH
OTHER, WHAT ARE WE DOING?
IT WAS JUST SO DRAMATICALLY
DIFFERENT THAN WHAT WE WERE USED
TO AT HOME.
THAT'S ONE OF THE GREAT THINGS
ABOUT AMERICAN AUDIENCES.
THEY LIKE YOU TO KNOW THAT
THEY'RE THERE.
I DON'T MEAN THEY HECKLE OR MAKE
NOISES OR THINGS LIKE THAT.
I DON'T MEAN THAT.
THERE'S JUST SENSE THEY'RE THERE
AND THEY'RE WATCHING.
WHAT IS TOTALLY FASCINATING
ABOUT THIS PLAY, AND ACTUALLY
NOW I THINK ABOUT IT, IN ENGLAND
TOO, THE CAPACITY FOR THE PLAY
TO REALLY CONNECT WITH THE
AUDIENCE IS POTENT.
YOU CAN FEEL THEM LISTENING.
AND YOU CAN ACTUALLY, HE SAYS,
DOESN'T HE, IN THE PLAY.
WELL, HE DOES.
HE SAYS, LOOK WITH THINE EARS
AND THAT'S WHAT THEY DO AND
THAT, AGAIN, IS ENERGY THAT
COMES BACK TO THE STAGE AND
THAT'S AMAZING.
>> THIS PRODUCTION RUNS THROUGH
JULY 7th?
>> I THINK JULY 7th.
>> AFTER THAT, YOU HAVE ANY
PROJECTS?
>> NO, NO, NO.
BUT THEN ALL MY LIFE, I MEAN,
EVERY JOB I'VE EVER DONE IN THE
THEATER.
THE LAST NIGHT YOU THINK, WELL,
THAT'S IT.
I'M NEVER GOING TO WORK AGAIN.
>> WELL, MISS JACKSON, IT'S BEEN
AN HONOR AND A PLEASURE.
>> OH, HOW KIND.
>> THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING
US.
>> THANK YOU.
>> "KING LEAR" STARRING GLENDA
JACKSON.
FOR MORE, VISIT OUR WEB SITE,
METROFOCUS.ORG.

Funders

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