Transcript of Ken's comments that were included in the South
Bank Show's Tribute to Shakespeare earlier this year.
"It's impossible to pin (Shakespeare) down about what he thinks and, as you
work with Shakespeare, actually finding the man, trying to find his what his
opinions were about almost anything is very difficult but along the way,
it's a cliche, uh, you nevertheless find out quite a lot about what you
"The theatre is a metaphor for life, as a mirror for life is something that
he plays with all the time and, uh, he presents people often uh revealing
sides of themselves to certain people and not to others that uh underlines
the idea that e are many many different kinds of individual and the plays
attack that complexity."
This was followed by a clip from LLL - Berowne's speech about "Love, first
learned in a lady's eyes".
"This access to poetry that he has, this, this ability to deal directly with
the heart, the ability to make - it sounds soooo pretentious but it happens,
I've felt it happen and I've been in theatres when it happens, I've been in
screenings of films - not necessarily my own, ah, when it happens, with the
comedys where the ability to have the spirits, the souls of the audience
Clip from MAAN - Beatrice and Benedict on the balcony - "Tell me for which
of my bad parts did you fall in love with".
"He always manages to do it and he does it in Much Ado About Nothing, to
take us through what it's like to be in love. It's painful, you agonise,
you get frustrated, you often hate the object of your love, you give it up
repeatedly, you throw yourself back into it at the moment at which you've
made the most strongest decision to resist it, you suddenly fall over all
again, it's mutable instantly and extremely and that sort of tumbling,
kaleidoscopic effect of the way in which our emotions are utterly changed by
romantic love is so beautifully caught."
Clip from MAAN - Benedict in the garden - "I may chance to have some wit
broken on me because I have railed so against love..." etc.
"I think (Shakespeare) felt many things and he has realism about, about what
the statistics we all know are not so great (laughs as he says this bit) and
I don't think they were as concerned about the divorce rate back in 1600,
but I don't think that had anything to do with the fact that relationships
are difficult and relationships that start intensely or romantically are
difficult to maintain at that level and he analyses that throughout all of
the plays and he does place questions marks above them."
From a segment on Hamlet:
"(Hamlet) is so brilliantly intelligent and at the same time we see the
dangers of the racing mind, of over-analysis, of constant monitoring of who
we are and what we do, as he says at one point, you know, we didn't get this
(pointing to his head) to fust in us unused, and at the same time it's a
very very dangerous thing because we think ourselves in and out of
situations and he does ask the question, to be or not be and right at the
end of the play, in answer to a question he poses himself, he says let be.
And it's very tough to be, and, uh, not be watching yourself being all the
time, that fantastically compelling uh irritating dimension of human
behaviour is very much exemplified with Hamlet, perhaps the truest human
being and the greatest play-actor in the whole canon."
"To me, in the absence of a, sort of, conventional religious faith, I'd say
that there is much practical, moral, spiritual mention in these plays that
as an individual, distinct from the work I do, is immensely valuable to me."