In a world seemingly dominated by the adage “Never apologise, never explain”, Pete Postlethwaite did something novel and courageous recently: he owned up. In an admirably candid interview on Radio 4’s Front Row he accepted that the critics’ objections to the Liverpool Everyman production of King Lear in which he starred had been, basically, right. “We were overwhelmed, I think, by the ideas,” he said, of Rupert Goold’s production. “What suffered was the performances.” Several things, including the evening opening with an extract from Margaret Thatcher’s “Francis of Assisi” speech, had been jettisoned, the actor said. “Things have gone that we found unhelpful, distracting, not true to the story.” When the production opened at the Young Vic in London earlier this month, it had changed significantly.
While bitching about your show to your friends in the bar afterwards is commonplace, publicly breaking the omertà that surrounds a production is not. Even rarer is admitting that the critics may have had a point. But how common is significant change in a production after the big opening night? Do directors and writers continue to tinker long after the critics have passed judgment? How much space is there for an actor radically to reshape a production once it is under way?
Full published article at: TimesOnline