Parkinson: Masterclass

Simon Russell Beale

Series 2 - Episode 3 Simon Russell Beale



For once this series lives up to its title. A good-humoured chat with Parky is just the appetiser before the main course as “the greatest stage actor of his generation”, Simon Russell Beale (currently playing Lear at the National Theatre), gives a masterclass to four students from his alma mater, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

As an exercise, it’s fascinating to watch how Russell Beale demonstrates to the students the one moment of truth in a soliloquy by Iago, the sensual response needed to Shakespeare’s text for Hamlet’s first soliloquy, and how a simple stage direction charges the emotional atmosphere of a scene from Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard.


Michael Parkinson is joined by actor Simon Russell Beale, who reflects on his schooldays, recalls his first portrayal of Shakespeare's King Lear when he was 17, talks about his reaction to a Malvern journalist's unflattering review of his performance in Hamlet, and discusses his working relationship with Mendes. Following the interview, Beale gives a masterclass in acting as he directs four drama students through soliloquies from Hamlet and Othello and a scene from Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Michael Parkinson
Guest Simon Russell Beale
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