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July 17 2024


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Stewart Works Out For Return To RSC

By Michelle
April 20, 2006 - 9:21 PM

Patrick Stewart said that he spent months exercising to be convincing as a Roman soldier in Antony and Cleopatra, one of two Shakespeare plays in which he will appear with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford this season.

Speaking to the UK's Express & Star, Stewart reflected on the four decades that have passed since he first appeared with the RSC, in a minor role in Henry IV, Part I. "This place was my artistic home for 16 years," he noted, before "the American science-fiction thing" made him internationally famous. Once he left Hollywood, he added, "the first thing I did was make contact with the RSC and let them know I wanted to come back, and to be with the company."

Now taking part in the RSC's production of Shakespeare's entire oeuvre, Stewart said, "I cannot see the Complete Works posters all over this town without wondering why nobody has done it before...why has it taken 45 years of RSC history to come up with this? It is a stroke of genius."

In addition to playing Antony - a role that requires Stewart to wear a wig "because I can't think of a Shakespeare play where the matter of hair is mentioned so much" - he will play Prospero in The Tempest. He does not believe that he is too old at 65 to play the Roman general because "Shakespeare intended that both these lovers were grown-ups, that their best days had passed...even so, I have spent months exercising to the point where I believe I can be a convincing warrior." He said he was enjoying playing an older man with the passions of a teenager.

The complete interview is at The Express & Star.

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