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Gandalf Gone Wild

by Angel Cohn July 14, 2008 11:53 am

I was one of the lucky people (depending on your perspective) who actually got to see Ian McKellen live in King Lear last year. It was a fine production, highlighted by the fact that Magneto drops trou (well actually he doesn't drop it, he more like pulls off his nightshirty costume over his head in a fit). It got quite a bit of attention at the time and it's run at BAM (The Brooklyn Academy of Music) was sold out. I actually had to go to one of the boroughs in order to see a very long play.

So now everyone is buzzing about Ian's bits and pieces being shown off again because PBS announced at TCA (Television Critics Association) this weekend that they had plans to air the performance. Will they or won't they show an, um, uncut version? To be determined. They claim it is because they are still trying to figure out the FCC regulations... but I don't buy it. Wouldn't the FCC give a pass to something that is "art" or worse comes to worse just have them blur the package in question? I mean, it is Shakespeare and it is done in the spirit of the play, not in a gratuitous way. And I doubt that McKellen cares if they show it or not, since he's got nothing to be ashamed of. (I can't believe I just wrote that. I feel cheap.) Instead, I think this is PBS's big master plan to get a big ratings boost for the airing of the classic play. If they came out and said, "No naughty bits for you," then there are people (I know there are people) who wouldn't bother sitting through a three-plus hour show, even if it did star McKellen. This way they can suck people in, and hopefully get them hooked since the sizable bits in question don't show up until mid-to-late in the production. Though I know all of you with your dirty minds may well just TiVo and skip to the good parts. It'll be like the porny Cliffs Notes version of the TV version of a Shakespeare play. The epitome of sleazy/lazy.

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