Ian as Berowne in Love’s labour’s Lost at the time when he was a leading actor of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Berowne was his favorite Shakespearian part. And Ian beautifully explained why.
“Berowne, that became my all-time favourite , came to me when I was almost into my forties. I was very excited about it but found it very difficult to memorize because Shakespeare had written it for himself. He wrote a real tour de force of verbal witticisms and he can never use one adjective if he can produce six. I realized that the only way to play it was very rapidly.
I was trying so desperately to cram all his beautiful convoluted verse into my head that I suddenly panicked when the first preview was upon us. At the end of the rehearsal that morning, in a state of abject terror and despair, I went to Holy Trinity Church and up to Shakespeare’s tomb. I looked up and asked him for his help.
When I said my first line of the evening I got my first big laugh and said a silent, “Thank you, Will”. I have just loved Berowne, partly because he was a lovely chap and partly because I knew that he was the last juvenile part I was ever likely to play”