The Guardian Shakespeare Solo: Edmund

A couple of months back, I wrote about the release by the British newspaper The Guardian of what they’ve been calling “Shakespeare Solos” — short films of soliloquies and set speeches from the Bard, recited by British actors. At that point, I shared what I considered to be a pretty subtle performance of the storm speech from King Lear, as performed by Roger Allam.

But now there’s a new one…

 Riz Ahmed as Edmund in King Lear: ‘Now, gods, stand up for bastards’ by The Guardian
Riz Ahmed as Edmund in King Lear: ‘Now, gods, stand up for bastards’ by The Guardian

As part of the latest batch of six videos, including Damien Lewis channeling Marc Antony in Caesar), actor and rapper Riz Ahmed delivers Edmund’s “God, stand up for bastards” speech (inexplicably in a movie theater… is he saying people who talk in movie theaters are villains? I’ll vote yes for that). Not quite as subtle as Allam’s mad king, this is still a wonderfully nuanced performance. Love the way he plays with the word “legitimate”–especially the way the elides the final use to “legit’mate” in a regional accent: perfectly mocking, but more importantly, that’s the way the meter scans in the line.

Great stuff (though still not as good, in my opinion as “Are you meditating on virginity?” from All’s Well That Ends Well by Sacha Dhawan).

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