Monday, November 09, 2009

Lunedi Lunacy

My poor father Ab (short for Albert) never knew what was coming next; what artsy-fartsy demand I was going to make of him. At 7 I dragged him to the opera, at 8 to Shakespeare.I remember one foray in a pounding rainstorm involving a bus, two street cars, a walk to the Hart House on the University of Toronto Campus only to discover that the play was over at Trinity College. And arriving soaked to the skin to see The Tempest by the Earle Grey Shakespeare Players.

Once a month he also took me to a movie on a Friday evening - that was my mother's lodge night and since it was downtown we came into the city with her. Normally it was something like a Martin and Lewis comedy though I do remember War and Peace with Audrey Hepburn. But even on movie night I'd get all artsy on him and drag him to see Laurence Olivier in Richard III.

Though it was a great performance - Olivier said he based his portrayal on the much hated Broadway producer Jed Harris - but it also became the subject of not a few satirical jabs. Charles Laughton - never a friend or fan of Olivier - did a devastating take off on his death scene as Bottom in a production of Midsummer's Night's Dream the following year. And Peter Sellers did this brilliant impersonation for the BBC.



And by way of comparison here's the great man himself in Richard's famous opening soliloquy.



What a father will endure for love. Ab really was a saint!

09 novembre - Dedicazione delle Basilica Lateranese
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4 comments:

YELLOWDOG GRANNY said...

what a good daddy...
i'd rather see petter sellers than laurence olivier..

YELLOWDOG GRANNY said...

the world of henry orient is still one of my favorite movies.

Willym said...

YDG: I'm with you on that one Henry Orient is one of my favorites - saw it when it first opened at Radio City Music Hall one Christmas. And it has Angela Lansbury in it too so.....

SubtleKnife said...

Slight tangent...

I heard Michael Caine talk about being a young actor and working with the great Sir Lawrence on a movie. Before filming started he received a letter saying: "After we've been introduced, you shall call me Larry."