February 6, 2015 |
Olivier's erotic letters "I woke raging with desire for you," writes the greatest Shakespearean actor of the 20th Century in a scorching, randy, salacious letter to his lover Vivien Leigh . "Oh dear God how I did want you. " Laurence Olivier 's missive is part of a cache of 200 previously unpublished letters between the two lovers that is to be made public. Explicit, anatomical, and yet somehow also poetic, most of the letters, held in the Victoria and Albert Museum archive, can't be printed here.
October 11, 2013 |
A spark of joy lit up the literary and academic worlds this year: It's the bicentennial of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice . Published in 1813, when Austen was 37, Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy's love story has become one of her most beloved novels, having sold an estimated 20 million copies worldwide. Austen's life and work will be celebrated in the region this month with three noteworthy events. The Lantern Theater Company in Center City will host "Regency and Revelry: The Jane Austen Festival," a five-day Austenalia from Friday through Tuesday featuring lectures and readings by experts, performances, and workshops on all issues Austen.
January 19, 2008 |
The celebrated actress Vivien Leigh was a troubled woman who suffered from what was called manic-depression in her lifetime and is called bipolar disorder in ours. Vivien is a troubled account of her life, as told by her. The 85-minute one-woman show, which opened Thursday at Walnut Street Theatre's Independence Studio on 3, is a histrionic vent about every subject on her lips, but mostly about her tortured relationship with Laurence Olivier. The two were married for 20 years, through fits and spurts of love and disdain, and through Leigh's constant mental anguish.
May 11, 2007 |
Shakespearean hunk and rotund genius filmmaker/wine tout face off! Crazy wife meets witty mistress! Stammering critic forced onstage to defend reviews! This just in: Nearly everyone that Orson's Shadow gossips about is dead! Austin Pendelton's tedious backstage comedy about Laurence Olivier, Orson Welles, Vivien Leigh, Joan Plowright and Kenneth Tynan centers on the time in 1960 when the powerful London critic, Tynan, persuaded Olivier, then considered the greatest actor on the English stage, to let Welles, pariah of Hollywood, direct him and his mistress Joan Plowright in Eugene Ionesco's absurdist play, Rhinoceros.
May 27, 1998 |
The last Shylock to walk a Philadelphia stage had a large hooked nose and an exaggeratedly swarthy complexion that gave him a fiendish appearance. The look will be quite different for the Shylock in The Merchant of Venice that the Philadelphia Shakespeare Festival is previewing today and tomorrow and opening Friday at the Adrienne. With little makeup and no false nose, he will appear very much like David Howey - the actor who plays him. The earlier Shylock was not in The Merchant of Venice but in a one-person piece, titled Shylock, which was presented at the Walnut Theatre's Studio 3 in February.
January 24, 1997 |
The worst part about cold weather isn't frostbite. It's walking down the street and seeing frozen spit on the sidewalk. I used to think this meant the city was full of slobs, but now I think it means the Royal Shakespeare Company is in town. You could fill a spittoon with the saliva that Kenneth Branagh spews forth in "Hamlet," his $8-per-ticket, four-hour epic in living color and 70mm Bard-o-rama. Many years ago, I was privileged to see Derek Jacobi do this - spit - while playing Bernardo in "Much Ado About Nothing" on Broadway.
June 7, 1994 |
A battle of the titanic egos of Ingmar Bergman and Laurence Olivier is reported by playwright and biographer Michael Meyer in a New York Review of Books analysis of Bergman's "Images: My Life in Film" (Arcade, $27.95) and two other books about the Swedish filmmaker. Olivier was head of the National Theater in London when Bergman directed a production of Meyer's translation of "Hedda Gabler. " Bergman "and Olivier got on far from well," writes Meyer. "You cannot have two Napoleons in the same room.
April 22, 1994 |
At the Battle of Bosworth Field in Shakespeare's Richard III, the downed monarch memorably offered his kingdom for another horse. When Laurence Olivier filmed the sequence, a stunt archer was supposed to put an arrow into the padded side of the king's mount. He missed and hit Olivier in the left calf. For the rest of the movie, released in 1955, Olivier's limp as the hunchbacked usurper was painfully authentic. It took three hours each day to do his makeup and fit him with the deformed hand and hunchback.
May 10, 1991 |
It has been said often that you can't go home again. Young Kenneth Branagh found that to be painfully true in accent-conscious England. He grew up in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Later his family moved to Reading. Then he discovered the unique magic of acting and trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Then he returned to Belfast and was asked, "What's happened to your accent?" "As kids do," recalls Branagh in his memoir Beginning (St. Martin's Press, $9.95), "they had gone right to the heart of this strange situation: an Irishman who lives in England and speaks English, but who is making a living as an Irishman.
January 18, 1991 |
Ignore all that talk about how tough it is for a matinee idol like Mel Gibson to play Hamlet. The truth is, Mel's been playing Hamlet for years - he just hasn't had William Shakespeare writing for him. Hamlet is, after all, a guy motivated by revenge - familiar territory for Gibson, who in three pictures roamed the post-apocalyptic wasteland as the vengeful Mad Max, driven by the murder of his young wife and child. The major difference is, Gibson didn't have a lot of highbrow critics wondering where he got his motivation.