Theatre Thursdays: Knights in Waiting

Quick, name your top ten favorite actors. Okay, I’ll wait.You done yet? No? Okay.

tumblr_mqa6vvB4fe1rlx538o3_250 (1)How about now? Good. If neither Sir Ian McKellen nor Sir Patrick Stewart were on that list, then I’m not sure that we could go on being friends. Sad, I know. But more important than my love for you is my love for these magnificent gentlemen, to say nothing of their magnificent love for each other.  I mean, easily one of the top ten bromances of all time.

So, let’s say you live under a rock entirely—like some kind of under-a-rock-growing moss or algae—and don’t know who they are. Sir Ian McKellen is the actor who plays, among other roles, Magneto in the X-Men films and Gandalf the Grey/White in the Lord of the Rings films. Sir Patrick Stewart is most recently well-known for playing Professor Charles Xavier in the X-Men films (prior to First Class), but more widely known as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Both of them are members of the Order of the British Empire, though fun fact: McKellen outranks Stewart. They are also both multiple time recipients of the Lawrence Olivier Awards, an indication of their master level talent in professional theatre.

I’m excited to let you know that these two giants of the acting profession are currently performing in two shows on Broadway. Labeled “Two Shows in Rep,” the promotion features McKellen, Stewart, Billy Crudup (Dr. Manhattan) and Shuler Hensley (of many Broadway shows) headlining two powerful plays at the Cort Theatre on West 48th. The shows, in previews until the 24th, are Beckett’s Waiting for Godot and Harold Pinter’s No Man’s Land. Check out the promotion’s advert here:

Patrick-Stewart-Vladimir--001Waiting for Godot is a powerhouse of modern western theatre. Written between 1948 and 1949 and opening in ’53, the play deals with four men predictably waiting for a man named Godot, who does not come. More importantly, the play has been subject to a variety of philosophical and critical interpretations as well as some controversy. It develops a number of questions: Who is Godot? Where is the play set? What does any of this mean? All of these questions go unanswered, and as such, the goal of developing a compelling play is in the process by which the characters move from between their unchanged beginning and ending locations.

21f4bc91c1e624cd93be1b6569ab307eNo Man’s Land is perhaps a more readily palatable play, decidedly less avant-garde, though also less prestigious than Godot. The play is a comedy with a strong reputation, having opened in 1975 at the Old Vic. Pinter’s play tells the story of, again, four men, and is an argument for how men of varying ages might struggle their way through personal dualities, an inability to relate to women, and a shifting context for masculinity. It’s also hilarious. Between that and this production’s practiced talent, there are plenty of reasons to go see this show.

Honestly, I’m planning to go see both. I don’t want to pass up the chance to see two of my favorite actors in two fantastic plays. Again, the show is still in previews, so reviews will start to become more and more common. In any case, both shows will be running until March 2nd. If you needed any other reason to go see one of these shows, the actors will be in high spirits. Just a few months ago, Ian McKellen officiated Patrick Stewart’s wedding, proving that not even jazz singer Sunny Ozell can come between them.

3 thoughts on “Theatre Thursdays: Knights in Waiting

  1. Several friends of mine have gone to see these plays, and they have all failed to find words to express how incredible it was. I am also at a loss to express my envy.
    That envy now, it seems, must spread to you. Sigh.

  2. Follow up: I commend you for appropriately educating anyone unfortunate enough to not know who they are on their accomplishments and amazing-ness.
    They are both stupendous human beings – Sir Ian McKellen once gave an award he received at a regional LGBT gathering to a young man in attendance, who’d been expelled from the private school he attended, for coming out. He told the boy that he was much braver than McKellen himself, who waited until he was old to do what this boy did as a teenager. (True story, my bestie was there as chaperone for the boy and saw it happen.)

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