Let Me Play the Lion Too

Michael Pennington
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ISBN 9780571231065 Format Paperback
Published 15/01/2015 Length 432 pages

About Book

How do you prepare for your first day on the set? Why might a bad audition lead to a good job offer? How should you research a new part? What's the effect of touring on your private life? How do you survive a long run? What about explicit love scenes? Can you have a glass of wine before a matinee? What's the difference between transitive and intransitive corpsing? What is stage fright?

In Michael Pennington's highly personal guide and memoir there are sections on rehearsals, on television then and now, on who does what on a film set, on the disciplines and rewards of musical theatre, and five directors discuss why the scenery is better on radio. Disability and racial bias in the theatre are discussed and we sometimes hear from other, younger voices who are following parallel paths. There's a meeting with Robert de Niro, and an idiosyncratic A-Z covers everything from Availability to Max Factor, from Professional Jealousy to Understudying, from Voice Overs to Zhoozh.

Infectiously enthusiastic, both conversational and profound, Let Me Play the Lion Too draws on the author's fifty years of experience to celebrate the deadly serious, sometimes hilarious, often misunderstood but infinitely enriching life of a professional actor.

  • About Michael Pennington

    Recently a triumphant King Lear in New York, Michael Pennington has been a leading actor for fifty years. For the RSC, of which he is an Honorary Associate Artist, and for the English Shakespeare Company, which he co-founded, he has played Hamlet, Timon of Athens, Berowne, Edgar, Mercutio, Angelo, Richard II, Coriolanus, Macbeth, Henry V, Leontes and Jack Cade. He directed Twelfth Night in the UK, Tokyo and Chicago and The Hamlet Project for the National Theatre Bucharest. In 2004 he gave the British Academy Shakespeare Lecture, the first practitioner to do so since 1925.

    He has also played leading roles in Chekhov, Ibsen, de Filippo, Euripides, Molière, Congreve, Osborne, Pinter, Harwood, O'Casey, Tolstoy, Wilde, Dostoyevsky, Stoppard, Bulgakov, Shaf-fer, Granville-Barker, Brenton, Orton, Hecht and MacArthur, Mamet, Strindberg and many others. He played Oedipus on BBC TV, Jude the Obscure on radio and Michael Foot in The Iron Lady. He has written User's Guides to Hamlet, Twelfth Night and A Midsummer Night's Dream; The Pocket Guide to Ibsen, Chekhov and Strindberg (Faber, with Stephen Unwin); Sweet William: Twenty Thousand Hours with Shakespeare; and Are You There, Crocodile?: Inventing Anton Chekhov. He continues to tour his solo shows on Shakespeare and Chekhov throughout the world.

    Photo credit: Simon Annand.

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