Transcripts

Double Exposure: Take Four

Michael Hordern by Diana Rigg

I was first in a play with Michael Hordern in 1962, The Physicists by Durrenmatt, directed by Peter Brook for the R.S.C. I don't remember him very well. We had no scenes together, which was just as well since I was rather bad as a plodding Teutonic nurse. Ten years passed during which Michael played many leading Shakespearean roles and starred in several West End successes. It wasn't until 1972, when we were both cast in Tom Stoppard's Jumpers at The National, that I was able to watch this consummate actor work from close quarters. For Michael, it was that God-given moment when the part of a lifetime comes alive. He seized it and his interpretation will, I predict, always be remembered as definitive. Not that it was easy. As George, a metaphysician, Michael had lengthy and fiendishly difficult speeches. The play was long and physically taxing, but he triumphed. He did so with an exquisite balance of intellect and endearing eccentricity. Like Richardson and Guinness, he is a particularly English actor. He represents to the public the marriage of two qualities that make our theatre great: tradition and individualism.


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