My word this is unusual!

Sir Ian McKellen: there will be no more British acting greats
Sir Ian McKellen argues that today\’s young actors will never develop into fine middle-aged performers because they have not honed their talents in repertory theatre.

We\’ve never heard anything like it, have we? Elderly grandee declaring that apres moi la deluge.

The kids of today hunh? Nowt like it were in my day.

7 thoughts on “My word this is unusual!”

  1. . . . and the solution, according to Danny Boyle and Sir Nicholas Hytner on the BBC’s Today programme this morning is money from the Arts Council ie the taxpayer. In the same item, also highlighted was criticism that Arts Council support for orchestras discriminates against the “authentic” culture of pop and instanced hardship suffered by some Russian popular beat combo. Needless to say, this is the BBC after all, no-one was brought on to question why we require an Arts Council in the first place whether or not it supports provincial theatres or pop music.

  2. Nevertheless, he could be right.
    There’s a guy I know, journalist of the old school. Started making the tea. A stint oop north. Went to work for the nationals. Very well known name in his day. Been everywhere. Done everything. Knew everybody. (His tale about interviewing a particularly mercurial jazz songstress, the day after she’d ejected a member of the US press at gunpoint’s a beaut) He’s said the same about his profession. A media studies degree doth not a journalist make.
    Looking at the chip wrappers, these days, is he wrong?

  3. There will be acting greats, they’ll just start out their career with someone pointing a DV camera at them instead. Or people will have to do the sort of “off-Broadway” theatre that you get in the US.

    The US doesn’t have a problem with producing great actors. Go and rent the works of directors like PT Anderson and their films are stuffed full of excellent American character actors who got there without an Arts Council, like Phillip Seymour Hoffman, William H Macy and Julianne Moore.

  4. I have nothing of substance to say here, but as our esteemed host likes pedantry I’ll provide some: it’s après moi, LE déluge. Not all French nouns are feminine, even if English speakers wish so.

  5. ” they’ll just start out their career with someone pointing a DV camera at them instead.”
    Except the two styles of acting are entirely different. To the point where some do stage but can’t do film & v.v.
    Wish I could remember where I heard this but it was from someone who’s done both: When the camera’s the ‘fourth wall’ the actor can ‘be’ the character because of the intimacy the medium allows. The audience is just one person tied & gagged in their seat. On stage, the audience is as much a part of the performance as the cast. There’s interplay & feedback not only between the watchers & the watched but across the audience as well. So the actor has to play the actor ‘being’ the character, simultaneously playing the role & aware of the reaction to playing the role.
    So McK may have point. But if he thinks subsidised theatre’s the answer he doesn’t understand audiences. The point about rep was it was entertainment for yokels out in the boonies. Ordinary folk. The sort that now get their entertainment from TV or the local multiplex. The audiences subsidised theatre attracts are completely atypical. They’re not going to be entertained but there for the ‘going to the theatre’ experience. Watching each other trying to work out when’s the right time to applaud. Most of the time, what’s happing on stage makes bugger all difference. They’ll enjoy the experience because people who go to the theatre are expected to enjoy the experience & the more incomprehensible it was the better it must have been.

  6. Very reminiscent of one of Arthur C Clarke”s rules

    “When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong”

    Old people are always gonna critise the new ones coming up and new styles and methods in any field. One of my favourite stories about actors is Laurence Olivier meeting James Woods who was into method acting. He’s like “I’ve not eaten or taken a shower in a week to get in character”, Olivier replies “Haven’t you heard of acting old chap?”

  7. BiS @5
    Yes that’s a good point about acting styles. Now I’m the last person whose opinion on this matters as when it comes to the world of board treading I’m pretty much the complete philistine, actors to me being largely a bunch of show offs who’ve been allowed to spend too long with the dressing up box. However I do like Shakespeare and particularly the Globe with it’s sense of involvement with the action. Yes I know it’s not authentic and is largely there for tourists but it’s still a great atmosphere, only slightly spoilt by the seating which does a chap of advancing years with a bad back no favours at all.


    I had to laugh when I saw that about subsidies for orchestras. Hugely amusing when you consider that the bulk of the classical music world seems intent on throwing itself down the market place steps and into the gutter with the plebs as quickly as possible. They’ve completely bought into the guilt feelings about elitism, witness the destruction of Radio 3. The cultural class warriors don’t seem to realise that they’ve already won.

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