Kevin Spacey’s deep well of power-lust | The Australian
TWENTY years ago, in the Broadway production of Neil Simon’s Lost in Yonkers, the actor with a cello-like voice and quiet authority was notable, even though the stage was dominated by the great Irene Worth.
Still, Kevin Spacey looked ordinary for an actor who would come to be part of the world’s collective consciousness.
Only a few years later he was the straight guy in the film of David Mamet‘s Glengarry Glen Ross, holding his own with legends such as Al Pacino and Jack Lemmon. Then, like lightning, he was the disturbing presence in The Usual Suspects and Se7en, the music of that voice a thing of menace and nemesis.
It was clear that an Actor — someone who would be mentioned with Brando, De Niro and Malkovich — had arrived in Hollywood, and so his Oscar for playing the oddball in American Beauty in 1999 came as no surprise. Now he is in Sydney to play one of the most dazzling bad guys of all time, Shakespeare’s Richard III.
If you want menace and the caress of verbal music, the lilt of a comic irony that knows no pity, then Shakespeare’s hunchback usurper is your man. He is the king of psychopaths and he writes his name on the walls of Shakespeare’s post-War of the Roses world with a bloody axe. It’s a part that might have been written for Spacey.
Spacey is, admittedly, the kind of actor’s actor who can make some of the greatest roles in theatre look as though they always had his name on them. It was in the wake of his Hollywood success that he went to London and took up the managership of the Old Vic theatre: in 2003 a remnant of its former glory, a ghost of the place where classical theatre had been revived in Britain, just near Waterloo Bridge.
The Old Vic was where Laurence Olivier had done his legendary Oedipus Rex and Richard III, where Ralph Richardson had played Falstaff and Peer Gynt. It was the theatre where Winston Churchill had recited from the stalls while watching the 28-year-old Richard Burton in Hamlet. And it was there, in that same play, that Peter O’Toole, one of Spacey’s heroes, had opened Britain’s National Theatre, under Olivier’s directorship.
Strange Random Richard III Quote:
The lights burn blue. It is now dead midnight.
Cold fearful drops stand on my trembling flesh.
What do I fear? Myself? There’s none else by.
Richard loves Richard; that is, I am I.
Is there a murderer here? No. Yes, I am.
Then fly! What, from myself? Great reason. Why:
Lest I revenge. Myself upon myself?
Alack, I love myself. Wherefore? For any good
That I myself have done unto myself?
O no, alas, I rather hate myself
For hateful deeds committed by myself.
I am a villain.
(Act V, Scene V)
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