Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Queen Judi

[ Ok, that’s something of a meaningless title but I thought it went well with my post from a minute ago about King Hapless. :) ]

Just how good is Dame Judi Dench?  Who else could reprise a role 48 years later?

That’s precisely what’s happening at the Rose Theatre on March 20 when she takes on Titania once again, working with director Peter Hall – who also directed her in the 1962 version.

In this particular instance I think I’ll let the original article speak for me, when it describes her as a “star that elicits affection from an audience busy purring its devotion from the minute Ms. Dench sweeps on stage.”  Yes, that’ll work.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/24/arts/24iht-LON24.html

You know, until the moment when I went to look this up, I’d been under the impression that Dame Judi had played Queen Elizabeth simultaneously, both in Shakespeare in Love as well as in the movie Elizabeth, which was out in theatres at the same time.  I never saw the latter, obviously, as she is not in it. 

Really weird trivia, though? I’m trying to figure out what special place in history Ms. Dench has, as I could swear there’s some sort of “award for playing the same role at different times” sort of thing that has to do with her and Queen Elizabeth.  So I google for it and end up on a question about “the only performers nominated for playing the same character in the same film”.

Answer? Judi Dench and Kate Winslet – but for the 2001 movie “Iris”, having nothing (as far as I can tell) to do with Shakespeare or Queen Elizabeth.

But now we get to play Six Degrees of Dame Judi, because Kate Winslet and she have both played Ophelia, who was also played by Cate Blanchett, who, you guessed it, played Queen Elizabeth in the 1998 movie.  Small Shakespeare world.

One last thing – the “special place in history” that I’m confusing appears to be that Ms. Dench has the award for shortest amount of screen time – less than 8 minutes.  Because she’s just that damned good, apparently.  She’s like the Chuck Norris of Shakespeare.   Hey, that could be a fun series :)  Judi Dench’s Ophelia doesn’t drown, she walks on the water.

2 comments:

Harriet said...

Regarding your trivia issue ... if I recall correctly, the year Judi Dench won Best Supporting Actress for playing Queen Elizabeth was the same year that Cate Blanchett was nominated as Best Actress for the title role in Elizabeth. So IF Cate Blanchett had won, then this would have been a case of two different actors winning in the same year, for the same character, in different films.

Duane said...

I think you're right, Harriet. I'd gotten "the role of Elizabeth is nominated twice" confused with "the actress is nominated twice".