Arts Blog

Ian McKellen as KING LEAR

February 8, 2019

Ian McKellen is more than just Gandalf and Magneto.

One of Britain's most celebrated actors, McKellen ruled the stages of the National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company beginning in the 1970s and continuing through his rise to film stardom with RICHARD III, GODS AND MONSTERS, and of course the X-MEN and LORD OF THE RINGS franchises.

His performance in KING LEAR, captured on video last year and screening this weekend in the Weitz Center Cinema, drew effusive praise.  Andrzej Lukowski from Time Out said McKellen was "hypnotic as a bullying monarch who uses language like a weapon.  His Lear goes from a vicious, vindictive despot, to a benign, humorous loon, to the gentle weary man of the desperately poignant close - restored to his faculties, just in time to feel terrible pain."

"Not to be patronising, but it's pretty remarkable stuff for a 79-year-old."

McKellen has played Lear in the past, but The Guardian notes that "This time, it comes weighted with poignancy after his suggestion that at almost 80, this may be his last big Shakespearean role on stage. It would make for a perfect swan song if so. There is a sense of an actor putting the finest last touches to his majestic legacy: in McKellen’s incarnation as the arrogant ruler undone by age, infirmity and filial disobedience ... this production dazzles, McKellen shimmering brightest at its dark, tormented heart."

KING LEAR will screen on Sunday, February 10 at 2:00 in the Weitz Center Cinema.  The screening is free and open to the public; no reservations are necessary.  Rumors are swirling that coffee and donuts may appear at intermission for hardy attendees.