He’s really committed to doing this DragonCon gimmick for the whole week!
Welcome to another Fact Of The Day. We continue DragonCon week by taking a look at the work of Sylvester McCoy who was a guest at the convention. While he is best known in the geek world for his role as the Seventh Doctor on Doctor Who, and Radagast The Brown in The Hobbit movies, he is also a stage actor who worked with fellow Hobbit actor Ian McKellan in the William Shakespeare production of King Lear. From the Encyclopedia That Changes Almost As Much As The Doctor’s Appearance...
McCoy has appeared with the Royal Shakespeare Company in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and in King Lear in 2007, playing the Fool to Ian McKellen’s Lear, a performance which made use of McCoy’s ability to play the spoons. The RSC production with McKellen and McCoy was staged in Melbourne, Australia during late July/early August 2007 and Wellington and Auckland, New Zealand during mid to late August 2007. It came into residence at the New London Theatre in late 2007, ending its run in January 2008. He reprised the role for the 2008 television movie of the production.
Two Wizards, together again. For the first time.
It features the same cast and director as the 2007 RSC production, and started filming only a few days after the final performance at the New London Theatre, at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire. The film was released on DVD in the UK and then in the US on 21 April 2009. It was shown on Channel 4 on 26 December 2008, as well as being broadcast on PBS in 2009 and a number of other TV stations internationally, including NHK Japan.
YoTuber kristy papas posted this video of Act 1 Scene 4, where we first meet the fool. It must be said that Sylvester really is quite good at playing the spoons in this scene.
This is what SparkNotes.com commentary has to say on the character of The Fool.
In Act 1, scene 4, we meet Lear’s Fool. Many of Shakespeare’s plays feature a clown of some sort, and King Lear arguably has two such clowns: the Fool himself and Edgar in his later disguise as Tom O’Bedlam. Many kings and queens during the Renaissance had court fools to amuse them. However, in addition to wearing funny costumes, singing, performing acrobatic tricks, and juggling, fools also made puns and rude jokes and offered their take on matters to their sovereigns.
Lear’s Fool cleverly combines this sort of foolishness with a deeper wisdom. The license, traditionally granted to official “fools,” to say things to their superiors that anybody else would be punished for enables him to counsel Lear, even though he seems only to prattle nonsensically. Moreover, Lear seems to have a very close relationship with his Fool: the Fool calls Lear “nuncle” and Lear calls the Fool “boy.” He is always speaking in riddles and songs, but in these scenes his meaning can be understood: he advises Lear to be wary of his daughters. In telling Lear, “I / am better than thou art now; I am a fool, thou art nothing,” he hints at the dangerous situation in which Lear has put himself (1.4.168–169). His ostensibly silly singing—“The hedge-sparrow fed the cuckoo so long / That it had it head bit off by it young”—clearly warns the king that his daughters, each like a traitorous “cuckoo,” plan to turn against the father who raised them (1.4.190–191).
I think my biggest regret of the convention was that I did not ask Sylvester about his Shakespeare work. When I got his autograph he was by himself, with no line. There had been one earlier but if i remember right Peter Mayhew was back and so everyone was trying to get Chewie to sign something. He seemed tired but was quite nice when i introduced myself and signed a Radagast print but was a bit short when I asked if he had seen any of the NuWho. I hope he returns next year, I would love a chance to chat about the Bard if there is one of those rare quiet non busy moments again during the weekend. For now, I will wish you all a pleasant day, and see you tomorrow for another Fact Of The Day.
Fact Of The Day is the daily column where RobGronkowski’sPartyBusDriver shares some random tidbit of science fiction, fantasy or horror knowledge. If there is a show or movie you would like to see done, leave a note in the comments below. You can see the full archive of past columns here.