Year of the Mad King: The Lear Diaries | Antony Sher
Where: Drama Book Shop
250 W. 40th St.
212-944-0595 Price: Free
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Find Antony Sher joined in conversation by Greg Doran, artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, as they discuss Year of the Mad King: The Lear Diaries, as well as Sher’s experience playing Lear in the acclaimed RSC production. The event will be held at the Drama Book Shop, located at 250 W. 40th in New York City, and will be followed by a book signing. Subsequent book signings will be announced soon at https://www.tcg.org/TCGBookstore/BookEvents.aspx.
In 1982, rising actor Antony Sher played the Fool to Michael Gambon’s King in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of King Lear. Shortly after, he came back to Stratford to play Richard III—a breakthrough performance that would transform his career, winning him the Olivier and Evening Standard Awards for Best Actor. Sher’s record of the making of this historic theatrical event, Year of the King, has become a classic of theatre writing, a unique insight into the creation of a landmark Shakespearean performance.
More than thirty years later, Antony Sher returned to Lear, this time in the title role, for the 2016 RSC production directed by Gregory Doran. Sher’s performance was acclaimed by the Telegraph as “a crowning achievement in a major career,” and the show transferred from Stratford to London’s Barbican and on to New York. Once again, he kept a diary, capturing every step of his personal and creative journey to opening night.
Year of the Mad King: The Lear Diaries is Sher’s account of researching, rehearsing and performing what is arguably Shakespeare’s most challenging role, known as the Everest of Acting. His strikingly honest, illuminating, and witty commentary provides an intimate, first-hand look at the development of his Lear and of the production as a whole. Also included is a selection of his paintings and sketches, many reproduced in full color.
Like his Year of the King and Year of the Fat Knight: The Falstaff Diaries, Year of the Mad King offers a fascinating perspective on the process of one of the greatest Shakespearean actors of his generation.
“Antony Sher’s insider journal is a brilliant exploded view of a great actor at work—modest and gifted, self-centred and selfless—a genius capable of transporting us backstage.” —Craig Raine, The Spectator (Books of the Year)
Born in Cape Town, Antony Sher came to London in 1968, and trained at the Webber Douglas Academy. He is now regarded as one of Britain’s leading actors, as well as a respected author and artist. Much of his career has been with the Royal Shakespeare Company, where he is an Honorary Associate Artist. He has played Richard III, Macbeth, Leontes, Prospero, Shylock, Iago, Falstaff, and King Lear, as well as the leading roles in Cyrano de Bergerac, Tamburlaine the Great, The Roman Actor, Tom Stoppard’s Travesties, Peter Flannery’s Singer, Athol Fugard’s Hello and Goodbye, and Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman.
At the National Theatre he played the title roles in Primo (his own adaptation of Primo Levi’s If This Is a Man) and Pam Gems’s Stanley. Both productions transferred to Broadway. In the West End, his roles have included Arnold in Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song Trilogy, Muhammed in Mike Leigh’s Goose-Pimples, and Gellburg in Arthur Miller’s Broken Glass. He played Freud in Terry Johnson’s Hysteria at Bath’s Theatre Royal and Hampstead Theatre. Film and television appearances include Mrs Brown, Alive and Kicking, The History Man, Macbeth, Primo, and J.G. Ballard’s Home.
He has written four novels—Middlepost, Indoor Boy, Cheap Lives, and The Feast—as well as the theatre journals, Year of the King, Woza Shakespeare! (co-written with his partner, the director Gregory Doran), Primo Time, and Year of the Fat Knight: The Falstaff Diaries. His autobiography Beside Myself was published in 2001. His plays include I.D. (Almeida Theatre, 2003) and The Giant (Hampstead Theatre, 2007).
He has published a book of his paintings and drawings, Characters (1989), and held exhibitions of his work at the National Theatre, the London Jewish Cultural Centre, the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, and the Herbert Gallery in Coventry.
Among numerous awards, he has won the Olivier Best Actor Award on two occasions (Richard III, Torch Song Trilogy, and Stanley), the Evening Standard Best Actor Award (Richard III), the Evening Standard Peter Sellers Film Award (for Disraeli in Mrs. Brown) and the Critics’ Circle Award for Best Shakespearean Performance (for Falstaff). On Broadway, he won Best Solo Performer in both the Outer Critics’ Circle and Drama Desk Awards for Primo. In 2000, he was knighted for his services to acting and writing.
Upcoming King Lear production: Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York – April 7 – 29, 2018Buy tickets/get more info now