Glenda Jackson is back on Broadway in the title role of King Lear. During her time off the stage, she stopped by the The Today Show with co-star Ruth Wilson to talk about their take on the Shakespearan drama, currently playing at the Cort Theatre.
Jackson is the first female Lear on Broadway. “I was first introduced to the idea by a great friend of mine; a brilliant Spanish actress called Núria Espert did it in Barcelona,” Jackson explained. “I went to see it; she was marvelous. She said to me, ‘Why don’t you do it?' I said, ‘Don’t be ridiculous; they’ll never let me play Lear in England.’” But Jackson did go on to play the role at London’s New Vic and now returns to the role in a new staging for Broadway.
Wilson plays both Cordelia and the Fool in the production from director Sam Gold. “They’re both the truth speakers in the piece; they both stand up to Lear, one of which he kind of listens to, one of which he doesn’t,” Wilson said. “He doesn’t listen to his daughter. He listens to the Fool.”
At age 82, Jackson says that she doesn’t have to wind down from playing the dramatic role. “There's a huge energy in the play, and if you get it right, there's nothing to take home. There's nothing really to wind down from in that sense.”
She also revealed that though she’s missed the Oscars in the past because she has been employed during the past ceremonies, she is not sorry to have missed them.
Jackson last appeared on Broadway in Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women, for which she earned a Tony Award.