Read Year of the Fat Knight: The Falstaff Diaries by Antony Sher Online

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Year of the Fat Knight is legendary stage actor Sir Antony Sher's account—splendidly supplemented by his own paintings and sketches—of researching, rehearsing, and performing one of Shakespeare's most iconic characters for a 2014 Royal Shakespeare Company production. This follow-up to Sher's 1985 classic Year of the King is a terrific read, rich in humor and excitement, thYear of the Fat Knight is legendary stage actor Sir Antony Sher's account—splendidly supplemented by his own paintings and sketches—of researching, rehearsing, and performing one of Shakespeare's most iconic characters for a 2014 Royal Shakespeare Company production. This follow-up to Sher's 1985 classic Year of the King is a terrific read, rich in humor and excitement, that also stands as a celebration of the craft of character acting....

Title : Year of the Fat Knight: The Falstaff Diaries
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781848424616
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 208 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Year of the Fat Knight: The Falstaff Diaries Reviews

  • Bettie☯
    2019-04-28 00:28

    BOTWhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05ssng2Description: Antony Sher recounts the year in which he created and performed his version of Shakespeare's Falstaff - despite never intending to undertake such an iconic role.Thirty years ago, a promising young actor published his account of preparing for and playing the role of Richard III. Antony Sher's Year of the King has since become a classic of theatre literature.In 2014, Sher - now in his sixties - was cast as Falstaff in Gregory Doran's Royal Shakespeare Company production of the two parts of Henry IV. Both the production and Sher's Falstaff were acclaimed by critics and audiences alike, with Sher winning the Critics' Circle Award for Best Shakespearean Performance.He tells us how he had doubts about playing the part at all; how he sought to reconcile Falstaff's obesity, drunkenness, cowardice and charm; how he wrestled with the fat suit needed to bulk him up; and how he explored the complexities and contradictions of this comic yet often dangerous personality. On the way, Sher paints a uniquely close-up portrait of the RSC at work. Read by Antony Sher 1/5: Year of the Fat Knight is Antony Sher's account of researching, rehearsing and performing one of Shakespeare's best-known and most popular characters.2/5: While rehearsing Falstaff, Sher films a scene in the Hobbit with Ian McKellenGandalf and Thrain - The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Extended Edition 3/5: Getting to grips with the fat suit4/5: Running two shows 5/5: After a year of rehearsals, Falstaff takes to the stage.Meet the actors - Antony Sher | Henry IV part I | Royal Shakespeare CompanySher as Falstaff in action on the stage: Henry IV Part I | Act II Scene IV | 2014 | Royal Shakespeare Company

  • Laura
    2019-05-01 00:14

    From BBC Radio 4 - Book of the Week:Antony Sher recounts the year in which he created and performed his version of Shakespeare's Falstaff - despite never intending to undertake such an iconic role.Thirty years ago, a promising young actor published his account of preparing for and playing the role of Richard III. Antony Sher's Year of the King has since become a classic of theatre literature.In 2014, Sher - now in his sixties - was cast as Falstaff in Gregory Doran's Royal Shakespeare Company production of the two parts of Henry IV. Both the production and Sher's Falstaff were acclaimed by critics and audiences alike, with Sher winning the Critics' Circle Award for Best Shakespearean Performance.Year of the Fat Knight is Antony Sher's account of researching, rehearsing and performing one of Shakespeare's best-known and most popular characters.He tells us how he had doubts about playing the part at all; how he sought to reconcile Falstaff's obesity, drunkenness, cowardice and charm; how he wrestled with the fat suit needed to bulk him up; and how he explored the complexities and contradictions of this comic yet often dangerous personality.On the way, Sher paints a uniquely close-up portrait of the RSC at work.Read by Antony SherProduced by Clive Brillhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05ssng2

  • Matthew
    2019-05-07 01:14

    I enjoyed this book phenomenally. It serves as a reminder of the best parts of the theater acting process, parts which are easy for an amateur like me to lose track of when I sometimes get stuck in the mire of substandard school and community theater environments.Sher's dedication to his art is inspiring: the massive amounts of mental energy he devotes to the part, his daily habits of practice, and his constant effort to keep up to snuff all go to show that the most successful people in their field have landed where they are because they care enough to make others care.Sher has an amazing mind. Sharp, insightful, interesting, and with a keen sense of history. The long list of names he draws up (plays and characters, actors contemporary and old, companies, directors, and famous productions) hit with total relevance, because they tell the story of classical theater in modern times. It's a story which I'm glad to have learned (and, in a small way, inhabited) after him and people like him.I'm a Henriad freak, and I came to this book after having seen Sher in the two productions he's writing on. I share his love for and familiarity with the plays, and after having seen his productions, I even know his castmates-- whenever he mentions Alex Hassell (Prince Hal), Tony Byrne (Ancient Pistol), or Oliver Ford Davies (Robert Shallow), their faces come up clear in my mind. That's quite a treat, and a privilege, since readers seldom sync up with their authors so closely!I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in today's classical acting, in the Henriad, or in the process of creating a show. This book was a dream after the altogether more scorned and unhappy Song of Spider-Man: The Inside Story of the Most Controversial Musical in Broadway HistoryNow excuse me as I prepare for my role in The Taming of the Shrew! I think you'll find I come from a long tradition of Grumios.

  • Stephen Hancock
    2019-05-11 22:00

    This is the third book by Anthony Sher I have read, and as always he offers thoughtful and interesting perspectives into the art of theatre, the writing of Shakespeare and himself. Here his focus is the character of Falstaff. As he notes himself, Falstaff is not seen as one of the 'greats' in the Shakespearian character canon, which runs from Romeo for young people, to the giddy heights of Lear - the so called Everest of the classical actor's art. Yet Falstaff is a major and complicated character, and Sher's book offers an insight into how one goes about inhabiting - or being inhabited - by this gruff, loud, rude, large, greedy, cowardly, manipulative and ultimately sad character as an actor. I found three different me's reading this book: the first was someone who has acted, although never as big a part as this, or on anywhere near so famous a stage. But it is re-assuring to know that Sher has difficulty learning lines, and that the process is exactly the same - lock your self in a room and keep repeating them - for stalwarts of the RSC as it is for a student actor.The second me was is more recent: the me that directs. I have no training in direction at all, so it was fascinating to read how the process is approached by a director I respect utterly - Gregory Doran. Observing the thoroughness and care he puts into a show, and his sheer love of Shakespeare was inspiring, moving and humbling.The final me is simply the me who lived in Stratford for a year. The descriptions of the river in the morning, the church, the place, everything, resonated with me. I spent much of my time wondering the streets and riverbanks of the town at night, when it takes on a much more different character. But here the descriptions are all morning, all thrilling with the love of being in such a place, such a time, and doing such a job. Not just a study of the craft of acting, or directing, or of Shakespeare, this is a study of Sher the man. Very enjoyable indeed.

  • Christine
    2019-05-06 22:12

    BBC Book of the Week starts 04.05.Antony Sher recounts the year in which he created and performed his version of Shakespeare's Falstaff - despite never intending to undertake such an iconic role.Thirty years ago, a promising young actor published his account of preparing for and playing the role of Richard III. Antony Sher's Year of the King has since become a classic of theatre literature.In 2014, Sher - now in his sixties - was cast as Falstaff in Gregory Doran's Royal Shakespeare Company production of the two parts of Henry IV. Both the production and Sher's Falstaff were acclaimed by critics and audiences alike, with Sher winning the Critics' Circle Award for Best Shakespearean Performance.Year of the Fat Knight is Antony Sher's account of researching, rehearsing and performing one of Shakespeare's best-known and most popular characters.He tells us how he had doubts about playing the part at all; how he sought to reconcile Falstaff's obesity, drunkenness, cowardice and charm; how he wrestled with the fat suit needed to bulk him up; and how he explored the complexities and contradictions of this comic yet often dangerous personality.On the way, Sher paints a uniquely close-up portrait of the RSC at work.Read by Antony SherProduced by Clive BrillA Brill Production for BBC Radio 4.

  • Laura (itslauracrow)
    2019-05-15 02:19

    I found this a really interesting and enjoyable read!FALSTAFF: No, my good lord, banish Peto, banish Bardolph, banish Poins, but for sweet Jack Falstaff, kind Jack Falstaff, true Jack Falstaff, valiant Jack Falstaff, and therefore more valiant being, as he is, old Jack Falstaff, Banish not him thy Harry’s company, Banish not him thy Harry’s company. Banish plump Jack, and banish all the world.PRINCE: I do; I will. After going to see the Cycle of Kings at The Barbican in January this year, which included the two Henries and Antony Sher as Falstaff, I've become obsessed with this tetralogy of plays. This diary gave a really detailed insight into the preparing, rehearsing and performing of such a large part with the RSC. Having seen and read the plays so recently I felt familiar with every scene he discussed and could picture the other actors in the production. Overall it was quick paced and well written, and the descriptions of Stratford-upon-Avon made me wish I lived there too - so idyllic. Definitely recommended for those with a love of theatre, acting or Shakespeare.

  • Travis
    2019-04-27 00:02

    Sher's recounting of building himself into Falstaff over the course of a year has the downside of being a highly privileged theatre maker whose sole bottleneck to realizing a character is himself. Thankfully Sher mostly recognizes his good fortune so there is a touch of gee-whizness to each over the top moment at the height of theatre royalty.In and around the name dropping are the lovely bones of the thing, a very vulnerable look at the fears and joys of being asked to play one of the Icons under very watchful eyes. Falstaff is the comedic Hamlet and I think Sher gets under the skin of the choices you make very nicely. The audience for the book is an odd beast... theatre-focused enough to appreciate the name-drops, not so connected that they won't feel twee. Acting interested enough to want to understand his choices, not so acting-interested that the top level nature of his recounting would be a tease. Well worth the couple of hours it'll take to share his mind on the Henries.

  • Manuel Antão
    2019-05-01 00:23

    If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.A Society of Abatement: “Year of the Fat Knight - The Falstaff Diaries” by Antony Sher “Sartre said that there’s a God-shaped hole in all of us. Greg fills his with Shakespeare; the other day he said, laughing, ‘I’m not the director of a company, I’m the priest of a religion!’ and me? I have Falstaff inside me now – I can say it confidently at last – and that great, greedy, glorious bastard leaves no room for anything else at all.” In “Year of the Fat Knight - The Falstaff Diaries” by Antony Sher   Reading stuff like this, always awakens my creative streak. Here's a little something for your (and my own) enjoyment I've just written that I think aptly summarises Sher's book. Do read on.

  • Bookthesp1
    2019-05-11 23:05

    This is an excellent volume using the successful diary format already tried and tested in Year of the King. Sher is a compulsively readable writer as he talks eloquently about his approach to the unexpected gift of the role of Falstaff in the Henries. Part of the pleasure of this book is peeling away the many layers that make the whole. There is the long section at the beginning where Sher doubts he is right for the role- indeed this book really strips away the powerhouse actor to see one riddled by doubt, insecurity and the worry that he will simply be laughed at. There are sections on the process of rehearsal. Weaved through this are the aspects of his relationship with the director Gregory Doran (his partner) and the latters role as head of the RSC. In addition there are Shers thoughts on other interpretations of Falstaff and its place in the canon ("Larry never played it?").The diary format melds all this together with descriptions of their life in Stratford and London and Shers other roles as he builds up for Falstaff.This all makes for a heady brew and is beautifully and humanely written. Occasionally real life intervenes - (trivially) they are voted top gay power couple and (monumentally), Mandela dies.Sher is brilliant at describing the process of rehearsals and the finding of his role as Falstaff- the research, the dynamics of rehearsal the talent of the other actors and Greg of course. He also does the diversions well- the busy life of both of them (Gregs schedule is very heavy- directing other plays as well such as Richard 11) and their appearances together at big events as well as holidays...Its a heady mix.This could easily condemned as a luvvie fest and at one point in the book Sher deals with this head on commenting on how hard the work is.There is also the question of the roles he does. Clearly he benefits from Dorans job. It is clear that he was a successful and starry actor before he met Greg but its the wrong question to ask why he gets so many big roles- more why are plays chosen that provide the star vehicle for him- in the book he is due to do Falstaff, Willy Loman and Lear. This is not all to do with Doran though. Many other big RSC names have gone onto success in films and TV. Sher is one of the last remaining big RSC names that hasn't done that- his film appearances are relatively few, his TV work relatively niche- hence he has flourished at what he is best at- stage and theatre acting and the RSC has capitalised on that. Indeed in the book he goes to New Zealand to be in Peter Jacksons Lord of the Rings working with McKellan only to find later that his role is completely cut from the finished version- because the film is already too long.To summarise.this is a fine book. The prose is sparkly and muscular and gets to the heart of what it is to play a great role. Sher has to be convinced about the star status of Falstaff (rarely mentioned in a list of great roles for actors) but eventually and very late comes to see the strengths and challenge of the role. The drawings are perhaps not as effective as those in Year of the King (no Kray Twins and other nefarious villains) but they are still things of beauty and are ample evidence of Shers renaissance man status. I finished this hoping that he will do a similar book on his journey to do King Lear....which roles come after that will be of interest since Lear is the pinnacle......thats Sher lot for now.

  • Jill Meyer
    2019-05-20 22:28

    Mounting a production of a William Shakespeare play must be similar - in a way - to curating an art exhibit at a major museum. Both are put together using many experts in design and education and the best ones - at least to me - focus on a central character or artist, with lots of supporting actors or paintings. In his book, "Year of the Fat Knight: The Falstaff Diaries", Sir Antony Sher combines writing and art to tell about the 2014 productions of "Henry IV, Part 1" and "Henry IV, Part 2", put on by the Royal Shakespeare Company, in which he played "Falstaff".Tony Sher, the South African-born actor and author, had played many classic characters, but he had never considered - or been considered for - the role of Falstaff. The character was usually played by large actors - usually made even larger by wearing a body suit - and Tony Sher didn't feel he had the body to play this larger-than-life character. However, his civil partner, Gregory Doran, as head of the RSC, was directing the "Henry" plays and wanted Sher to play the character of Falstaff. Sher was starring in the Royal National Theatre's production of "The Captain of Kopenick" in Spring, 2013, and he began to consider the role, talking to other actors and directors about his ability to carry off the role. After much consideration, he decided to take on the challenge. His diary of the next year recounted both the soul-searching about taking the role, and then the details of how he, as an actor, and others, as cast and crew, produced this play.I had never read about the mounting of a theatrical production and I was fascinated by the details involved in getting everything from the scenery, to the costumes, to the historical facts just right. Tony Sher also writes about how HE got into the part of Falstaff. After looking at the character and how others had played him in past productions, Sher decided to portray him as an alcoholic.Sher is a very good writer, but he is also quite talented as an artist. The text is accompanied by drawings of other actors who have played the part of Falstaff in the past, as well as the actors and crew he was currently working with. The book, which is currently only available in e-book form, is absolutely delightful.

  • Alteredego
    2019-04-26 01:05

    I have recently posted a review of Anthony Sher's "Year of the King", a book I first read in the 80's, shortly after it was first published. That was an account of playing Richard III, written by an actor still building his career. The contrasts (and similarities) with this work are interesting.Here we see a fully established theatrical knight, confident in his place in the world, working on the character of Falstaff in the two parts of Henry IV. That is not to say that Sher in without insecurities. He is in the favoured position of being married to the Artistic Director of the RSC and director of the plays, and yet this simply leads to concerns about perceived nepotism. In the Year of the King he worried about his physical ability to play the part, having ruptured his Achilles while playing the fool in Lear. Here he worries about whether a short Jewish South African can play the quintessentially English fat knight. This is despite the book opening with an endorsement from Ian McKellen.At its heart, this is a similar work to Year of the King, but that is its strength. It is the portrait of a massively talented actor putting together a performance. It is a picture of a company gradually coming together (and Sher is a very generous writer in his appreciation of those around him, both on and off stage, there is no bitchiness or backbiting). It is an account of the mechanics of rehearsals, previews, press nights and openings.The Year of the Fat Knight, like its predecessor, is illustrated throughout by the author's own drawings and paintings. These include a series of pictures of other actors playing Falstaff, which are both very recognisable, and also have a similarity, with the fat knight himself present in all of them. Amongst others, there is a touching picture of Sher with husband Greg Doran.In summary, this doesn't have the raw energy and excitement of the earlier book, but it instead gives a much mellower, considered view of an actor working at the top of the profession.

  • Theresa
    2019-04-23 04:21

    What a wonderful, immersive read! I am always intrigued by 'process', meaning where an artist, writer or performer shares the work of creating. Each has a unique discipline, all fascinating, even inspiring. Here Sher brings you into the process and along the journey with him, day by day, as he creates Falstaff for the RSC productions of Shakespeare's 'Henry IV Parts I and II'. In the end, you have such a deep understanding of the plays, and admiration of Sher's skill, intelligence and talent. And who doesn't like the peek behind the curtain of a compelling theater production and those glorious beings who make the magic happen?I just wish I had seen the production - with Sher as Falstaff - when it was brought to NYC for a limited run this past spring. ACK! Hopefully there is an HD broadcast version to be found and viewed somewhere.I read this for Pop Sugar 2016 Reading Challenge, first book I saw in bookstore (Drama Book Shop in NYC). Highly recommend to any lover of the theater, but especially all who perform or wish to.

  • Jeff Howells
    2019-05-12 04:06

    At the start of the year I read Antony Sher's diaries about him preparing to play Richard III and enjoyed them immensely. I'm glad to say that this book is equally as good. This time Sher writes about playing Falstaff in Henry IV parts I & II. Considering he is one of this country's greatest actors, the thing that strikes you is how much he is wracked by uncertainty. Right up until opening night he thinks he won't be able to pull the part off, but as we know now the plays were a great success & were very well reviewed. The whole account of preparing for the role is so damn absorbing & engrossing, and I hope that he gets to publish more of these books (perhaps one on Willy Loman & King Lear - that would be a fascinating insight).

  • Alexander Van Leadam
    2019-05-20 03:29

    Self-importance and self-indulgence are common in many fields, especially those characterized as creative or intellectual, as well as in memoirs and journals. The worries of an actor on how to play Falstaff as an alcoholic certainly tick all these boxes. The book would have failed to interest me even if I was keen on acting. The problem is not only the subject but also the largely humourless, self-centred was the author talks to us. The RADA do at Buckingham Palace, where he cannot stop telling about his rejection by RADA explains why I failed to like this book.

  • Angharad
    2019-05-09 22:59

    I really enjoyed this book. It's a series of diary entries from Antony Sher as he prepares to play Falstaff at the RSC. He has also included many beautiful sketches of himself and his fellow actors. I may have had more of an interest as I was lucky enough to see him play Falstaff twice. However, I think this is an interesting and often humorous insight into an actor's preparation for a Shakespearean role, even for those who didn't see the production.

  • Brian
    2019-05-07 02:02

    A fascinating insight behind the scenes of an RSC production. We saw these plays in 2014 and reading about the rehearsals and decsions they made is really interesting. Told through a series of diary entries Antony Sher guides us through the start of getting the part and creating the character up to the first night. Interesting, no-holds-barred, read 4 stars

  • Mike
    2019-04-26 01:05

    I was fortunate to see Anthony Sher's Falstaff in Brooklyn last month, so I found his acting diary an absolute delight. It's a great look at the inside workings of the Royal Shakespeare Company, as well as a chance to see how an actor prepares for a role, and how Sher's understanding of Falstaff radically shifted as he got to know the character.

  • Mike Jensen
    2019-04-19 23:19

    A pretty darn wonderful story of of Antony Sher's essay of Falstaff for the Royal Shakespeare Company from the time he fought against accepting the part until shortly after the opening. Great insights into Falstaff, the Henry IV plays, the workings at the RSC, and Shakespeare's as a writer.