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Politician and Oscar Winner Glenda Jackson to Gender-Bend as KING LEAR at the Old Vic

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79-year-old politician and Oscar-winning actress Glenda Jackson is "excited" to return to the stage in the title role of KING LEAR at the Old Vic this autumn.

The Daily Mail reports that Jackson, after stepping down from her time in the government last May, will be working with director Deborah Warner starting with rehearsals in August.

Commenting on Jackson's time away from the theatre, Warner told the Mail: "It is very exciting - biblical, really. Who else has done that?! Who else has done that in any art, in any medium?" She added, "The fact that Glenda Jackson was excited about doing anything was overwhelmingly exciting."

On Jackson playing a traditionally male role, Warner said: "I think she's playing Lear, full stop. He, or she, who takes the words into their mouth of any Shakespearian character, becomes the character. Boom. Done." The director also specified that her production will not be "an exploration of gender."

Warner has directed KING LEAR twice before -- in Edinburgh and at the Almeida in the mid-80s, and at the National five years later.

Jackson last starred on Broadway in MACBETH in the late '80s. Before that, she took the New York stage in STRANGE INTERLUDE, ROSE and 'THE PERSECUTION AND ASSASSINATION OF JEAN-PAUL MARAT', as well as 'US' in the West End and SCENES FROM AN EXECUTION at the Almeida. She was a member of the RSC beginning in the mid-60s, often working with director Peter Brook.

She is well known for playing the title role in the BBC drama series ELIZABETH R (for which she shaved her head) and her Academy Award-winning turns in the films WOMEN IN LOVE and A TOUCH OF CLASS. No doubt she will bring her signature level of commitment to the role of Lear.

Photo courtesy Wikipedia.


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