Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A Little Lear

At age fifty-eight, in the year 2000, I lost my long-time job writing the CBS Evening News.  At first I was confident I could reverse my fortunes and turn failure into success.  But as one scheme after another came up short, I began to feel rejected and depressed.  Then came what seemed like a brilliant idea.  The following is an excerpt from my memoir, "A Beginner's Life," just published by Full Court Press

        
It was time for a radical re-think.  I racked my brains for something I’d be good at -- something that suited my talents, but I’d never had time to pursue.  Soon a gem of an answer appeared – Shakespearean acting!  I loved Shakespeare, had read or seen most of the plays, and could speak Elizabethan English fluently, if not accurately.  An actress friend of mine, Nicola Sheara, encouraged me.  She’d been around the New York theater scene for decades, had performed on Broadway, and said, “Sure, go ahead.  In two weeks, you’ll be in King Lear.” 

Two weeks later, I was in King Lear! 

Visions of glory danced in my head as I made my way downtown to begin rehearsals for the role of Gloucester, the king’s loyal friend, father of the hero Edgar and the arch-villain Edmund.  I landed the part at my first audition, which I attended with at least a hundred other hopefuls, at the American Theater of Actors on West 54th Street.