Theater: Once More into the Labyrinth

IAN MCKELLEN ACTING SHAKESPEARE

Casually dressed in white shirt and blue trousers, he hurries down the aisle like a schoolboy late for the class-play tryouts, afraid the best parts may have already been cast. But when he mounts the bare stage—its only prop a battered chair that once had pretensions to the regal—a sense of awe seems to overcome him.

Wide-eyed, he wanders the playing area, tapping the boards with his heel, touching the backcloth bemusedly, imparting the stagestruck youth's romantic awe for the centuries of tradition gathered in the shadows of any theater....

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